Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

December 21, 2011 14:15 ET

CIU Salutes Minister Toews' Rejection of Proposed Closures of Remote Ports of Entry

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 21, 2011) - The national union representing Canada's Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers has expressed its appreciation for Public Safety Minister Toews' recent unequivocal rejection of the internal CBSA/CBP Report which recommended closing and reducing hours of operation at some small and remote land-border points-of-entry.

The CBSA/CBP internal Report, which had been obtained and released on December 15, 2011 by the CBC, appears to have been prepared in contemplation of the newly announced Canada-US Perimeter Agreement. Minister Toews' remarks to the Winnipeg Free Press on December 17, 2011 left no doubt that such closures were not approved and that the Government was seeking enhanced and not reduced border security.

CIU National President Jean Pierre Fortin expressed the appreciation of the CIU's front line members for the Minister's decisive and swift action in repudiating the Report.

"We were very reassured by the Minister's immediate and unequivocal rejection of the recently leaked internal Report which suggested closing and/or reducing hours of operation at certain remote and smaller land-border points-of-entry. This decisive reaction signals that the Harper Government understands the priority of field operations over bureaucracy when it comes to Canadians' security. The Minister also indicated the possibility of increased technology use in remote locations which emphasizes the clear need for close monitoring by a CBSA mobile Border Patrol which remains nonexistent on the Canadian side of the border and which the CIU has long been advocating for. It is our hope that this Agreement will finally see that deficiency resolved as well."

In the context of the Canada-US Perimeter Agreement, Fortin also noted the CIU's appreciation to the Harper Government for the fact the Agreement contains timelines, required outcomes, and assigned responsibilities.

"Unlike border agreements from previous Governments, the 'Beyond the Border Accord' is remarkably precise in what is to be accomplished, when it is to be achieved, and who has responsibilities to ensure the job gets done. It is our expectation, therefore, that this important Agreement will serve as a catalyst for CBSA to finally take on its proper enforcement role by fully participating in these enhanced enforcement activities as is clearly intended by the Government."

Because the announced measures will require the deployment of necessary resources, Fortin also noted that his organization is looking forward to the details of how the different Agreement initiatives will be implemented given the current back-drop of federal government cuts in services.

"For this Agreement to achieve the important results that are now possible, the Government will, of course, have to ensure that the public agencies, including CBSA, are provided with the necessary financial resources and personnel to get the job done. We are pleased to note that the Government has already confirmed that the Agreement's screening and enforcement enhancements will be enabled by new funding. As always, we will offer our front line insights into how this can be most effectively accomplished.

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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