Now is the time to shop online


If you’re looking for online bargains for Christmas gifts, you might want to wrap it up soon.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials are seeing a growing number of parcels being shipped from the United States into Canada, likely due to Canadians taking advantage of the higher dollar. It’s so busy that it’s leading to delays at the border.

“I know there is a delay. I’m told a couple of weeks – maybe a week or a bit more,”

said CBSA spokesman Lisa White.

In September, the latest month for which numbers were available, Canada Post saw an increase of 15% to 18% in the number of parcels coming north, said spokesman Francois Legault, but he says they have added more staff to help.

Gourmet Gift Baskets

Gourmet Gift Baskets

Even more staff will be added this month to keep up to what is expected to be a very busy cross-border shopping Christmas, he said.

But there are still some delays. Sun photo editor Tom Braid, for instance, bought some second-hand cameras off of eBay. According to tracking information, the cameras came across the border the morning of Oct. 31 but have been stuck there ever since.

Canadians are ordering more, said L.L. Bean spokesman Carolyn Beem. The American retailer, in the past year, has seen double-digit increases in the number of sales being shipped north.

“It’s been great,”

said Beem.

“We’ve always enjoyed a steady Canadian base and I guess that’s because we do border Canada and there has always been a steady stream of traffic that goes from there to here and here to there.”

EBay has been reporting large increases in the amount of purchases made by Canadians on items listed in U.S. dollars, said Steve Acken of Environics, which handles communications for E-Bay.

In October 2007, 23% more purchases were made by Canadians for American listed items than in October 2006. That included a 40% rise in consumer electronics purchases and a 39% increase in health and beauty purchases…

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