Imports of alcohol and special events

Circular Note No. XDC-1367 of July 5, 2007

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Office of Protocol) presents its compliments to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d'affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada and, with reference to the Customs Privileges for Diplomatic Mission, Consular Posts and International Organizations Memorandum of the Canada Border Services Agency, Memorandum D21-1-1 has the honour to clarify instances where foreign missions and/or their representatives are entitled to import alcoholic beverages duty and tax free.

Foreign missions, diplomatic agents and career consular officers are, at all times, authorized to import liquors and wine under special tariff for official and/or personal use. This privilege is restricted in the case of Members of the administrative and technical staff and career consular employees who are authorized to import duty and tax free at the time of first installation, i.e. during the first six (6) months of their posting.

In addition, foreign missions are, subject to the Department's consent, authorized to donate liquors and wine to charitable events and other special events under the conditions set forth in sections 29 to 32 of the above mentioned Memo, and provided that such events are not hosted by honorary consular officers (who are generally Canadians or Permanent Residents). It should be noted that permits from the appropriate provincial authority may need to be obtained in order to serve alcohol imported duty and tax free, regardless of whether the venue is otherwise licensed to serve alcohol purchased through provincially regulated vendors. More favourable treatment regarding donation by foreign missions or accredited representatives of wines and liquors imported under privilege to professional wine tasting events to be hosted by them may be extended by the Department on the basis of reciprocity.


Foreign missions and their representatives who import alcoholic liquors and wine duty- and tax-free are not authorized to sell them. Further, they are not authorized to import alcoholic beverages that will subsequently be purchased by, or on behalf of, persons who are not entitled to duty and tax free importation. More specifically, the importation of duty and tax free liquors and wine for honorary consular officers, event organisers or any other third party not constituting a diplomatic mission or consular post is not considered as an acceptable practice by the Department.

If a Mission has a doubt or any other question regarding the eligibility of a foreign mission and/or representative to import alcoholic beverages under special tariff, the Mission is urged to seek clarification from the Department's Office of Protocol, by contacting the following number: (343) 203-3021. Hours of service are generally from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday to Friday.

The Department requests the assistance of Heads of Diplomatic Missions to relay the above information to members of their staff as well as to all consular posts and staff elsewhere in Canada.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Office of Protocol) avails itself of this opportunity to renew to Their Excellencies the Heads of Diplomatic Missions and Chargés d'affaires, a.i. accredited to Canada the assurances of its highest consideration.

Ottawa, July 5, 2007


Footnote *

If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.

Return to footnote * referrer