Joint Operations Backbone OF CBSA
(OTTAWA, ON) – Pierre Sabourin, Vice-President of Operations of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), today provided the following statement regarding incorrect media reports concerning CBSA’s role in joint operations with law enforcement partners.
The CBSA is NOT ceasing all Joint Force Operations. The CBSA values its strong relationships within the law enforcement community and actively participates in 30 Joint Force Operations partnerships with Canadian and American police agencies. This will continue.
Joint Force Operations have proven to be very successful over the years. They have resulted in safer Canadian communities through significant seizures of contraband, numerous arrests and removals of criminals. These operations have a specific duration, identified targets, and an anticipated outcome. These operations fall within the mandate of the CBSA to combat the illegal entry and exit of people and goods to and from our country. The participation of the CBSA in these operations is a vital part of its mandate, and officers are fully equipped and authorized to participate under the Canada Border Services Agency Act.
In addition to our Joint Force Operations, each and every day the CBSA works diligently to ensure that inadmissible goods and people do not enter Canada. The CBSA is responsible for and instrumental in seizures of illegal goods (narcotics, child pornography, firearms and weapons) and the removal of inadmissible people. These daily enforcement actions may very often lead to additional police involvement/charges/investigations. Over the past year, CBSA officers across the country have contributed to over 11,500 drug seizures (valued at $2.36 billion), currency seizures (totalling $45.1 million), 376 firearm seizures, approximately 1,450 prohibited goods seizures, 132 child pornography seizures, in addition to conducting over 14,300 removals from Canada. These are part of day-to-day CBSA operations – working closely with our law enforcement partners will continue.
The directive referred to in media reports will reinforce that actions taken on behalf of the CBSA must be within our mandate or legislative authorities. Traditionally, in some regions of the country, our officers have been permitted to participate voluntarily in these operations which are entirely domestic in nature. One such example is a request for detector dog support during a domestic raid and/or domestic warrant execution. In 2010, there have only been approximately 50 such requests nationally. However, these activities are entirely domestic in nature and fall outside our border-related legislation and our officers, simply put, have no more authority than the average Canadian in these instances. By focusing our operations within our mandate and legislative authorities, the CBSA ensures resources are allocated to providing integrated border services that support our national security and public safety priorities. As a result, the CBSA has made the responsible decision to not participate in activities that are not included in its mandate or legislative powers.
Protecting the integrity of our borders and the safety and protection of our officers and Canadians remains the top priority for the CBSA. We will continue to focus our activities on both Joint Force Operations and on our day-to-day business as we deliver on the CBSA mandate.
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