When planning your future meetings and conferences, selecting Montréal brings a tantalising international flair to the proceedings for your guests and attendees. And while hosting an event in Montréal does require the extra steps of getting your materials and delegates within Canada’s borders, with a modicum of pre-planning this process can be smooth and simple. Here’s how.
Select the right customs broker
Several well-respected customs broker companies operate in Montréal, specializing in wrinkle-free cross-border meeting preparation and finding one to suit your needs is a breeze. We spoke with Diane Labbé Deegan, the co-founder of ConsultExpo and herself a customs broker with over 20 years’ experience, to explain the process of getting you and your events to Montréal.
Share the reins
Once your customs broker has joined the team, you’re ready to start the ball rolling. Following a one-page event registration form with the Canada Border Services Agency, it’s time to hand over the in-Canada reins to your broker and focus on the details that will keep your event first and foremost in the minds of your participants.
Enjoy the freedom of building the big picture experience for your guests while your customs broker works behind the scenes to pull together the necessary on-site minutiae. All steps from shipping to liaising with exhibitors and the CBSA are handled by your broker, from the earliest days of planning to in-person assistance on the day of the event.
Know before you go
First things first: consult our visitors’ guide. It’s packed with useful information and tidbits, with both event profs and delegates in mind.
Savvy planners check back regularly with the government’s website to keep up to date on any changes in documentation requirements. Include a link to the Government of Canada’s easy to navigate Visit Canada site on your conference website and in other communication tools to keep your attendees prepared and up to date.
A few years ago, the Government of Canada introduced the eTA, the Electronic Travel Authorization system, which is now required for many travellers. (Residents of the United States are exempt.) It’s easy to fill out online and just takes a few minutes. The video below lays it all out like a well-packed suitcase. As of June 6, 2023, 13 more countries have been added to a partial visa exempt countries list. Now, travellers from 67 countries can apply for an eTA instead of a visa.
For quicker and more efficient cross-border experiences, also consider applying to the NEXUS program, jointly run by the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It helps avoid long line-ups and save time.
One of the best things about travelling to or from Montréal is how easy it is to do, starting with the international airport being just 20 minutes away from the centre of town. It’s a breeze to navigate, plus it was recently voted among the top 5 airports in North America by the prestigious Skytrax (and among the cleanest, too).
YUL Express is one of YUL’s great services: it allows you and a group of up to 10 people to set a specific time to access security checkpoints (up to 72 hours before your flight departure time) and enjoy a priority line once at YUL, all for free. Just follow these three easy steps:
- Go to yul.whyline.com.
- Complete the form in advance, up to 72 hours before your flight.
- When you arrive at the checkpoint, go to the YUL Express priority line, and show the airport staff the QR code of your booking.
For more answers to frequently asked questions, look here.
Read this next: Transportation options to and from the Montréal airport