Can they search your phone at the Canadian border?

The Squamish Chief Staff

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As much as we all love B.C., sometimes we want to head down across the border for pleasure or work. Likely, when you think of a trip down south, you plan to bring your electronic devices — like your smartphone — down with you.

Cellphone/Shutterstock

But what are the rules around the Canada Border Services Agency officers searching your devices?

It is important information to know, especially given the current political climate in the U.S.

This week, the BC Civil Liberties Association launched an online guide (.pdf) to help Canadians understand what the current situation is concerning electronic searches at the Canadian border and US pre-clearance zones in Canada.

The guide covers the following:

  • Rights at the Canadian border – What can and can’t be done by a CBSA officer when they decide to search your electronic devices?
  • CBSA policies – What exactly do CBSA officers do when they are searching your electronic devices?
  • Rights at U.S. pre-clearance areas – What can and can’t be done by a pre-clearance officer when they decide to search your electronic devices?
  • Best practices – What steps can you take to keep your data private and secure?
  • I’ve been searched! – What should you do if your electronic devices have been searched by the CBSA?