An Overview of the Frontier Duty Free Association

The Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA) is the Industry Association representing the interests of Canada’s duty free shops. Active membership includes 27 Canadian Land Border Duty Free Shops, and Associate Members consists of Canadian Airport and U.S. Land Border Duty Free Shops. As well, as trade supplier members and others interested in the duty free industry.


The FDFA’s primary activities on behalf of the membership includes:

  • Liaison between active members and the Federal Government’s Duty Free Shop Program (CBSA), on behalf of the active members with all levels of Government.
  • Represents the members with other industry related associations such as the Canadian Tourism Board, Retail Council of Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
  • Oversees consumer awareness via our consumer website, social media, blogs, etc. This program is designed to promote and educate Canadians on the benefits of shopping at Canadian Land Border Duty Free stores, provide the consumer with information on crossing the border, the allowance structure, duty free savings, and provides the consumer a greater understanding of our stores locations and information about our Canadian border communities. Consumer website:
  • Facilitates overall communications between the Association and its Supplier Members
  • Government and media monitoring, as an early warning system of impending government issues, regulation and legislation.
  • Facilitation and execution of the National Gold Standards Award Program fostering excellence in retailing among the members.
  • Directs and oversees the Annual Convention and Trade Show. This includes the Annual General Meetings (AGM) for the “Active” members. The convention is normally held in the Fall (November) of each year.
  • Directs and oversees the FDFA’s Semi-annual meeting for the land border duty free store operators. The goal of this event held in the Spring is to provide information and business formats that encourages greater store productivity and improved business practices.

Frontier Duty Free Association – A Brief History

Since the appearance of duty free shops at international airports and certain marine terminals in the mid 1960’s and the inauguration of the land border duty free shop program in 1982, the Federal government and private interests have co-operated in an unbroken chain of mutually beneficial and successful business ventures. Today, duty free shops are an important and integral part of the Canadian tourist industry, acting as ambassadors to visitors to Canada.

This program, which is a direct extension of the many services provided to tourists in Canada, was initially intended to attract more foreign visitors by offering them significant tax and duty free savings on the purchase of a host of consumer items. An integral part of the introduction was to create viable business opportunities for independent business people, and to generate significant employment.

Moreover, the program has from the beginning promoted the many fine Canadian-made high quality products and to stock high quality internationally recognized brand name fashions, jewellery, leather goods, crystal,wine/spirits, perfumes, and a wide range of electronic and photographic merchandise.

As a matter of policy, all duty free shops owners deliberately foster a distinctly Canadian flavour or ambiance in their stores.

For more FDFA information on our activities and initiatives, please contact the FDFA head office at