Cheesed off, Sask. man leaves undeclared food with border agents

Canadian border agents have made a "cheesure" after a Saskatchewan man, grilled at an entry point, failed to declare that he had 20 kilograms of Mexican cheese.

20 kg of undeclared Mexican cheese

It must have been a grating experience for a Saskatchewan man who tried, unsuccessfully, to bring some Mexican cheese across the border. (Roxanne Ready/Flickr)

Canadian border agents have made a "cheesure" after a Saskatchewan man, grilled at an entry point, failed to declare that he had 20 kilograms of Mexican cheese.

Instead of whizzing through customs, the man paid a $40 penalty and chose to abandon the seized cheese rather than pay duty to import it.

The case, which happened in early April at the North Portal border crossing, was highlighted in a recent report from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The foreign fromage was among many incidents noted in the report, which said CBSA officers in Saskatchewan process an average of 64,000 travellers in a month. The majority of those people are entering Canada in cars.

The CBSA April report also listed a number of instances where firearms and prohibited knives were discovered at the border.

On April 9, the agency said officers seized a restricted .44-calibre revolver from a traveller at the Regway border crossing. The agents found the gun inside an RV, in a bedside compartment. The owner had declared two rifles and two shotguns, but no handguns. The CBSA said he paid a $1,000 penalty for and was returned to the United States for committing an offence upon entry.

In another case, at the North Portal entry, officers seized 42 prohibited knives — including 12 switchblades — from a commercial importer. The knives had not been properly declared, they said.

Officers for the Canada Border Services Agency deal with over 60,000 people per month in Saskatchewan. (CBSA/Submitted to CBC)

Penalties for under-declaring

Two other April cases highlighted the value of making a full declaration.

On April 2, the CBSA said a Saskatchewan couple, returning to the province, failed to declare the motorhome they were driving, which they had purchased for $3,250 in the U.S.

That led to the vehicle being seized and the couple had to pay a $1,800 penalty for its return.

"If they had declared it, they would have paid approximately $150 in goods and services tax (GST)," the agency pointed out.

As well, on April 5, a Saskatchewan man was importing a restored vintage car with a declared value of $53,500.

But officers did some digging and determined he had actually purchased the vehicle and restoration parts for almost $80,000, adding nearly $1,300 in GST owed.

"As a result, the man paid more than $10,000 for failing to make a truthful declaration," the CBSA said.