Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

April 30, 2010 14:35 ET

Customs and Immigration Union Responds to Border Response Pilot Project Announcement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2010) - The national union representing Canada's front line border security and immigration screening and enforcement officers has acknowledged the Government's announcement of a pilot border response project between the ports of entry near Lacolle Quebec.

CIU Acting National President Jean Pierre Fortin, expressed limited support for this initial action by the Government which only partially fulfills their 2008 campaign commitment to deploy a joint force, intelligence led, mobile Border Patrol that includes the Canada Border Services Agency.

"While we are pleased to see this Government continue to direct improvements in border security on behalf of Canadians, it is unfortunate that, once again, CBSA's leadership has failed to fully involve the Agency's highly trained and skilled officers in this important work and that the RCMP led effort is not a patrol as promised but only a response unit of unclear capacity."

In an important development that confirms previous off port activity, CBSA Officers will work away from the Lacolle port of entry with the RCMP in gathering and assessing information but, due to CBSA management's decision, will not immediately participate in the interdiction component of the project which will be done, for now, by the RCMP and Surete du Quebec.

Fortin noted that this partial participation by CBSA fails to meet the Government's 2008 commitment which expressly indicated that CBSA would participate in a "…joint force Land and Marine Border Patrol Pilot Project… to patrol unguarded US road and marine crossings to Canada in Quebec."

"Our members are ready to meet the commitment of the Government and participate fully in this important work as intended. Not utilizing the training and expertise of Border Services Officers puts additional strain on other already stretched law enforcement agencies while needlessly increasing costs. Hopefully the Government will seek an explanation from CBSA management about what they did with any funds already provided for this pilot project and when they will be ready to live up to the Government's commitment by ensuring full CBSA participation to permit a proper patrol to better secure our borders.

Over 7,200 uniformed CBSA Border Services Officers perform their port of entry and enforcement duties on a daily basis at approximately 1,200 locations.

The Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) is a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents Canada's Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers. CIU also represents Investigation, Intelligence and Trade Customs Officers, Immigration Inland Enforcement and Hearings Officers, as well as all support staff - all of whom work at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

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