Canada Border Services Agency

Canada Border Services Agency

Infobox Government agency
agency_name = Canada Border Services Agency
nativename = Agence des services frontaliers du Canada
nativename_a =
nativename_r =

logo_width = 220px
logo_caption =

seal_width = 120px
seal_caption =
formed = December 12, 2003
jurisdiction = Government of Canada
headquarters = Ottawa, Ontario
employees = 12,000+
budget =
minister1_name = Stockwell Day
minister1_pfo = Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
chief1_name = Stephen Rigby
chief1_position = President
website = []
footnotes =

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) ( _fr. Agence des services frontaliers du Canada - ASFC) is the Canadian government agency responsible for border guard and customs services.

The Agency was created on December 12, 2003 (the same day Paul Martin became Prime Minister of Canada), by an order-in-council amalgamating Canada Customs (from the now-defunct Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) with border and enforcement personnel from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The agency's creation was formalized by the [ Canada Border Services Agency Act] which received Royal Assent on November 3, 2005.Since the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, Canada's border operations have placed a dramatic new emphasis on national security and public safety. The Canada-United States Smart Border Declaration created by John Manley and Tom Ridge has provided objectives for co-operation between Canadian and American border operations.

The CBSA oversees approximately 1,200 service locations across Canada, and 39 in other countries. It employs over 12,000 public servants, and offers round-the-clock service at 61 land border crossings and nine international airports. [cite web |url= |title=About the CBSA - What we do |accessdate=2007-11-09 |date=2006-08-31] .

They also oversee operations at three major sea ports, and three mail centres. It also operates detention facilities in Laval, Toronto, Kingston and Vancouver.

Border Services Officer

A Border Services Officer is a law enforcement agent employed by the Canada Border Services Agency. BSOs are designated peace officers in Canada, and primarily enforce customs and immigration-related legislation, in particular the "Customs Act" and the "Immigration and Refugee Protection Act" as well as over 90 other Acts of Parliament. Because of their peace officer designation, they also have the power to enforce other Acts of Parliament, including the "Criminal Code of Canada". Border Services Officers are equipped with handcuffs, oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, batons, and are currently being armed with Beretta PX4 Storm pistols at major land borders. The arming initiative will cover most officers in Canada over the next 10 years.

Border Services Officers are trained at the CBSA Learning Centre, located in Rigaud, Quebec. The training begins with 4 weeks done online called Pre-POERT and then a 9-week program called Port of Entry Recruit Training (POERT), which covers a range of topics from criminal law to customs brokerage.

Changes to the CBSA

Since the creation of the Agency in 2003, the CBSA has undergone significant changes to its overall structure as services previously offered by different agencies are now housed under a single banner. Not only has the structure of the organization changed, but the range of duties and the institutional priorities have changed. Where the prior coupling of Canada Customs with the Canada Revenue Agency lent itself to a focus on tax collection, the new Agency was created to address the realities of security in the post-9/11 world, and to respond to criticisms, mostly from the United States, that Canada was not doing enough to ensure the security of North America.

Substantial changes began before the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. In May 1998, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-18, which changed the agency policies allowing the officers to arrest and detain individuals at the border for other non-customs related violations of Canadian law. These new responsibilities led to the implementation of use of force policies. Border Services Officers across Canada started to carry collapsible batons, OC spray and handcuffs. The 2006 Canadian federal budget introduced $101 million to equip CBSA officers with side arms and to eliminate single-person border crossings to help officers perform their duties. The decision to arm BSOs has been a subject of some controversy in Canada for several years, but the idea has had the support of other law enforcement agencies as well as the union that represents the affected officers.

In August 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that arming BSOs would begin in early 2007 and would continue over the next 10 years. Some of the first officers to be armed will be those working at the Windsor, Ontario port of entry, the busiest highway port of entry in Canada. Arming at the other Ports of Entry across Canada is being conducted systematically with those Ports considered the busiest and/or most dangerous to be completed first. At this time it has not been decided when, and if, officers at airports will be armed. It has been officially confirmed that CBSA officers will be armed with the 9mm Beretta Px4 Storm.

Current CBSA Structure

* Minister of Public Safety
***Executive Vice-President
****Vice President, Strategy and Coordination
****Vice President, Admissibility
****Vice President, Enforcement
****Vice President, Operations
*****Regional Director General, Atlantic Region
*****Regional Director General, Quebec Region
*****Regional Director General, Greater Toronto Area Region
*****Regional Director General, Northern Ontario Region
*****Regional Director General, Niagara Falls/Fort Erie Region
*****Regional Director General, Windsor/ St. Clair Region
*****Regional Director General, Prairie Region
*****Regional Director General, Pacific Region
****Vice President, Human Resources
****Vice President, Innovation, Science and Technology
****Vice President, Comptrollership

Immigration to Canada

The CBSA plays a key role in immigration to Canada, as it has assumed the port-of-entry and enforcement mandates formerly held by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. CBSA officers work on the front lines, screening persons entering the country and removing those who are unlawfully in Canada.

As of the end of 2003 there are up to 200,000 illegal immigrants in Canada (most residing in Ontario). Most are refugee claimants whose refugee applications were rejected by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.cite news
title=200,000 illegal immigrants toiling in Canada's underground economy
work=Globe and Mail
] There are very few illegal immigrants who enter the country without first being admitted by the CBSA. The reason for this is that Canada is physically very difficult to get to, with the exception of crossing the Canada/U.S. border. As the U.S. is itself a prime destination for illegal immigrants, not many illegal immigrants then attempt to cross the border into Canada in the wild. This differs significantly from the illegal immigration patterns in the U.S., which stem from illegal border crossings.

Examinations, searches and seizures

All persons and goods entering Canada are subject to examination by CBSA officers. An examination can be as simple as a few questions, but can also include an examination of the subject's vehicle and/or luggage, more intensive questioning, or personal searches. The intensity of an examination depends on the reasonable grounds that the officer has to escalate the intensiveness of a search.

Examinations are performed to ensure compliance with Customs and Immigration legislations. CBSA officers are given their authority by the "Customs Act"cite web |url= |title=Customs Act, 1985 |accessdate=2007-11-09 |date=1986-02-13 |work= |publisher=] and the "Immigration and Refugee Protection Act." In addition, BSOs are also able to enforce other Acts of Parliament as they are designated as Peace Officers under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Enforcement-oriented programs and initiatives

Border Watch

The CBSA Border Watch toll free info line offers citizens the opportunity to report suspicious cross border activity directly to the Agency in a direct and confidential manner. The Border Watch line differs from other phone lines for the public, such as Crimestoppers or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police info line in that it is designed to focus directly on border-related intelligence.

The toll free number is 1-888-502-9060.

mart Border Declaration and Action Plan

The Smart Border Declaration and Action Plan, also known as the Smart Border Accord, was signed in 2001 and is an initiative of the Government of Canada, specifically the CBSA, RCMP and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the Government of the United States, specifically the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection and the United States Coast Guard. The two major signatories to the Declaration were Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley and US Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.

The Accord was set up in order to facilitate the cross-border flow of travellers and goods, while co-ordinating enforcement efforts in the two countries.

The Accord consists of 30 points of common interestcite web |url= |title=Border Cooperation 32-Point Action Plan] to improve both security and trade between the two countries. Included in the plan are initiatives to improve the biometric features of Permanent Resident Cards in both countries, sharing Advanced Passenger Information, and creating compatible immigration databases.

There are four main pillars to the Action Plan:
*Secure flow of people
*Secure flow of goods
*Investing in secure infrastructure
*Coordination and information sharing in the enforcement of these objectives

Canada-United States Integrated Border Enforcement Teams

Integrated Border Enforcement Teamscite web |url= |title=IBET] (IBETs) were created as a part of the Accord to consolidate the law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering expertise of different agencies in both countries. The key Canadian contributors to the IBETs are the CBSA, RCMP, US Customs and Border Protection, US Coast Guard, and US ICE Teams. However, IBETs also enlist the help of other municipal, state/provincial and federal agencies on certain projects.

In Canada, IBETs operate in 15 regions across the Canada-US Border in air, sea and land modes. They are based on a model started along the British Columbia-Washington State border in 1996. Since their inception, IBETs have helped disrupt smuggling rings involved in the drug trade, alcohol, tobacco and vehicle smuggling, and human trafficking.

Recent CBSA successes

Project OBOY

On 14 February, 2006, the CBSA, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a number of other Canadian and US law enforcement agencies carried out a series of raids in support of Project OBOY, a three-year investigation which resulted in the arrest of almost 30 people in Toronto, Windsor, Detroit and New York City. The ring was responsible for smuggling over 100 people both ways across the border, using methods such as concealing them in the trunks of cars, on rail cars, in small boats and in the back of commercial trucks.

Operation Jaloux/Operation Hat Trick

In April 2006, an Atlantic IBET made 26 arrests (11 in Canada, 15 in the US) after a two-year investigation into a major cross-border drug smuggling ring. The operation was largely undertaken at the Edmundston, New Brunswick port of entry. In addition to the arrests, Jaloux netted over 1,000 pounds of marijuana, 110,000 ecstasy pills and more than $1.2 million USD. The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) participated in the IBET operation, which was called Operation Jaloux in Canada and Operation Hat Trick in the United States.

Operation E-Patch/Smuggler's Uncle

E-Patch (Canadian name) /Smuggler's Uncle (US name) also concluded in April 2006 and was undertaken by the Pacific IBET. The US Attorney's Office indicted 14 people for smuggling people through Canada and into the United States for profit. The network used houses in Toronto and Vancouver to hold South Asian nationals while they awaited transportation to the US.

Operation Frozen Timber/E Printer

Frozen Timber (US name) /E Printer (Canadian name) was carried out by the Pacific IBET and resulted in the disruption of a brazen drug smuggling ring which transported tons of illegal drugs across the border using aircraft which dropped their loads in remote wooded locations in British Columbia and Washington State, often in broad daylight. The investigation began in November 2004, and by June 2006, more than 40 arrests and 45 indictments had been issued in the US, and four arrests were made in Canada. In total, 3,640 kilograms of marijuana, 365 kilograms of cocaine, three aircraft and more than $1.5 million USD were seized by law enforcement agencies in both countries. In addition to the participating IBET agencies, Frozen Timber/E Printer was carried out with the cooperation of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Washington State Patrol, the United States Attorney's offices in Spokane and Seattle, the DEA, the FBI, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Sheriff's Departments of Whatcom, Skagit, and Okanagan Counties, as well as the Abbotsford Police Department.

IBETs are currently operating at land border crossings in the following regions:
*British Columbia
**Pacific Region (Vancouver)
**Okanagan Region (Kelowna)
**Rocky Mountain Region (Raymond)
**Prairie Region (Estevan)
**Red River Region (Altona, Boissevain)
**Superior Region (Thunder Bay)
**Sault Ste. Marie Region (Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie)
**Detroit/Windsor Region (Windsor)
**Niagara Region (Niagara Falls)
**Thousand Islands Region (Kingston)
**St. Lawrence Valley Central Region (Cornwall)
**Valleyfield Region (Valleyfield)
**Champlain Region (Lacolle)
**Eastern Region (Stanstead, St.-Georges-de-Beauce)
*Atlantic Canada
**Atlantic Region (Yarmouth, Woodstock, St. Stephen and St. Leonard)

Detector Dog Service

The CBSA's use of detector dogs began with three canine units at the Windsor port of entry in 1978. The program has since expanded to include 69 detector dog teams located at ports across Canada. Detector dogs work in mail, air, land and marine modes. Each dog is trained to detect specific commodities, and are generally trained to fit into one of three profiles:
*narcotics, explosives and firearms
*plants, food and animals


Detector dogs provide Border Services Officers (BSOs) with one of the most effective tools in the detection of contraband. Although other tools are available to BSOs, detector dogs are highly efficient in their ability to accurately locate the source of a scent, and thus can save time in labour-intensive examinations of vehicles, luggage and cargo. This speeds up the process for BSOs as well as for the travelling public.

The CBSA uses passive detector dogs, unlike some other law enforcement agencies, which use active dogs. When a passive dog detects a scent that it has been trained to recognize, it sits beside the source of the smell. While active dogs, which bark, scratch, dig or bite at the source of the scent, were used initially by the CBSA, passive dogs allow the officer to circulate among passengers more peacefully, and are considered by the Agency to be more effective in the course of their work. The Passive Dog training was implemented in 1993, and is now the Agency's preference.


Detector Dog teams (consisting of a dog and a single handler) undergo a 10 week training course at the CBSA Learning Centre. The handlers are Border Services Officers, and are trained on how to care for, maintain, and train their dogs. They are also trained to understand the Cone of Scent. Odour particles always disperse in the shape of a cone: more concentrated at the source, and less concentrated farther away. After the initial training, the handler must keep up a training regimen to ensure their dog remains in top form. Only about 1 in 10 dogs who begin the training eventually become detector dogs.

While there is no specific description for a detector dog, the CBSA looks for certain characteristics that make a better potential detector dog,cite web |url= |title=Detector Dog Service] including:
*ability and desire to retrieve
*good physical condition

About the dogs

Detector dogs begin training between the ages of 11 and 16 months and work for an average of 8 to 10 years. Several different breeds are used, but the CBSA primarily uses Labrador Retrievers for firearm, drug and currency detection, and the Beagle for plant, food and animal detection. Dogs that are used to detect firearms, drugs and currency live with their handler. However, dogs trained to detect agricultural products live in a commercial kennel as living around large amounts of food full time can cause the dog to become desensitized to some scents. While the dog is at work, it is transported in air-conditioned vehicles that act as a mobile kennel.

Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS)

The AMPS program, implemented in December 2003, is a system that encourages compliance with Customs legislation through the tendering of monetary penalties. It is used mainly as an enforcement tool on technical infractions, where the subject did not necessarily intend to breach the legislation, but failed to comply in some way. For more serious or deliberate infractions, the goods in question may be seized or subject to forfeiture. AMPS penalties are imposed depending on the severity and frequency of the infraction. Multiple infractions will result in higher penalties under the AMPS system.

Commerce and trade-oriented programs and initiatives

Customs Self Assessment Program

The CSA program gives approved importers a streamlined accounting and paying process for all imported goods. Importers are required to apply for acceptance into the program

Advance Commercial Information

A major ongoing project of the CBSA is Advance Commercial Information, which requires shipborne and airborne cargo entering Canada to be registered with the Agency. This assists officials at seaports and airports in their inspections, and allows for the tracking of suspicious materials. These phases of the project were implemented in 2005, with a similar highway and rail cargo program to follow in the near future.


External links

* [ Canada Border Services Agency Official site]
* [ Border Crossing Information]
* [ Border Crossing Information (French)]
* [ Smart Border 30-Point Action Plan]
* [ Canada Nexus Border crossing system] Educational Video - ID Cards RFID Chips
* [ Integrated Border Enforcement Teams]
* [ IBETs 2006 Joint Cross-Border Operations]
* [ CBSA Detector Dog Service]

ee also

*Passport Canada
*Foreign Affairs Canada
*Correctional Service of Canada
*American entry into Canada by land
*U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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