Canada: What Were The Top 10 Reasons For NEXUS Card Cancellations In 2017?

Last Updated: January 3 2018
Article by Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

We have worked on a number of NEXUS requests for review (that is appeals) in 2017.  We have seen many NEXUS card confiscations and the number of appeals we file increased in 2017 over 2016 (and we filed more appeals in 2016 than in 2015 - there is an upward trend).  Our list of reasons for NEXUS card cancellations is based on our experience and is not based on a review of all the Canada Border Services Agency ("CBSA") Recourse Directorate files.

The top ten reasons (some not particularly good reasons) for the CBSA confiscating NEXUS cards are:

1. The traveler was accused by the CBSA of making a false statement to the CBSA officer (contrary to section 110 of the Customs Act) when they declared goods using the NEXUS kiosk, but provided the incorrect value for duty when repeatedly asked to give a number.  In these cases, the traveler properly declared that they were within their personal exemption limit and that was truthful and correct.

Alternatively, The traveler was accused by the CBSA of making a false statement to the CBSA officer (contrary to section 110 of the Customs Act) when they made a mathematical error adding their receipts of converting the receipts into Canadian dollars.

2. The traveler was accused by the CBSA of making a false statement to the CBSA officer (contrary to section 110 of the Customs Act) or the traveler is accused of providing a false invoice for an expensive item the traveler purchased at a private sales (often as a result of a Craigslist or other ad).  Often the CBSA finds the original listing or advertisement and the value paid was lower than the list price.  The CBSA does not think any negotiation took place.  The CBSA Officer did not watch Pawn Stars and does not know that Rick Harrison often says that advertised prices are often not the amount paid for an item.  The CBSA uses the list price as the value for duty and assesses a level 2 or 3 penalty on the basis that the traveler provided a false statement.

3. The traveler failed to have all their receipts at the time of the secondary inspection and, therefore, was accused of failing to declare goods contrary to section 12 of the Customs Act or making a false statement contrary to section 110 of the Customs Act. The CBSA officer usually obtained values conducting computer research and selected an arbitrary value that the traveler could not disprove at that moment.

Example 1: The traveler did not organize their receipts or threw out a receipt in error or left a receipt in the hotel room.  In an event, the purchased/received goods do not match the receipts and the value is considered by the CBSA to be higher.

Example 2: the traveler went to the United States to pick up goods for a friend and was not given the receipt.  The person asked for, but did not receive the correct value of the goods.

Example 3: The traveler received a gift and did not know the value of the gift.  The traveler estimated the value of the gift (or provided a value that they were told by the person who gave the gift). When the CBSA officer looked up the item on the internet, the CBSA Officer found a different value.

4. The traveler has expensive luggage or an expensive purse that looked new and could not immediately at the time of the secondary inspection provide a receipt for the item.  The CBSA Officer's Narrative Report always states that the luggage or purse smelled new and that the CBSA Officer believed it was purchased on that trip.

5. The traveler declared alcohol, but did not list the types of alcohol.  For example, a traveler who is outside Canada for less than 48 hours must pay duty and taxes on all alcohol.  If the Primary CBSA Officer does not write down all the types of alcohol, the person's NEXUS card will be taken away. For example, we have a client who provided a receipt for alcohol (all purchased at one store).  The Primary CBSA Officer wrote down "wine" and did not write down "spirits" also.  The secondary CBSA office confiscated the traveler's NEXUS card. If a traveler declares 10 bottles of wine and they actually have 12 bottles of wine, the traveler's NEXUS card is often taken. Declaring wine and the correct value is not sufficient.

6. The traveler did not declare goods purchased at a duty-free store in Canada prior to their travel outside Canada.  For example, a client purchased cosmetics at the duty-free store at Toronto Pearson Airport.  The cosmetics were used during her travel outside Canada.  The traveler reviewed the E311 Declaration Card, which asks for the value of goods purchased abroad.  She followed the instructions of the E311 Declaration Card.

7. The traveler failed to declare currency exceeding $CDN 10,000 when leaving Canada (often to go to Las Vegas or the Bahamas on a gambling holiday or when traveling to visit family).  Often the person could not find the CBSA office in the Montreal Trudeau International Airport (often they were traveling from another location in Canada and transiting through Montreal) or could not find the CBSA office at Toronto Pearson International Airport (because the NEXUS office has moved to a location 5-10 minutes away from the airport).

Alternatively, the traveler failed to declare currency exceeding $CDN 10,000 when arriving in Canada.

8. The traveler agreed to pay an administrative monetary penalty for a food item that was seized.  By paying 50% of the fine on-the-spot, the traveler forfeits all appeal rights.  A contravention is registered against the person and they lose their NEXUS card.

9. The traveler used the NEXUS lane when they should not have used the NEXUS lane.  If a person has commercial goods, they are not permitted to use the NEXUS lane.  If the vehicle includes persons who are not NEXUS members, the driver of the vehicle should not use the NEXUS lane.

10. The traveler forgot to check a box on the E311 Declaration Card.  For example, the traveler did not check the box that they exceeded their person exemption limit, but wrote a number in excess of the personal exemption limit.  Another common example is that a traveler has a dog or a cat, but does not check the box for live animals thinking the box only applies to food.
There are many other mistakes that could be listed – these are the most common.  Hope you have happy travels and let the other people spend time in the CBSA's Secondary Inspection Area.

If you run into difficulty and your NEXUS Card is cancelled, consider filing a request for decision.  Here are some articles we have written:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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