Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

Customs and Immigration Union (CIU)

January 13, 2006 08:00 ET

Customs Officers Warn of Plan to Reduce Hours and Staff in Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 13, 2006) - CEUDA has learned that the Canada Border Services Agency under direction of Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Anne McClellan plans to reduce the number of Officers and hours of service at border crossings across Manitoba, starting with crossings in Snowflake, Crystal City and Piney.

Hours of service are now from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., 7 days a week, and will be reduced nearly 40%, going from 13 hours a day to 8, as the schedule changes from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

CBSA also plans to transfer employment of at least one Customs Officer to Emerson. Three Officers currently work at each location, with one Officer on duty at all times. With an 8 hour shift there will only be 2 Officers required to work the 7 days a week.

The plan currently sits on Minister McClellan's desk waiting for her signature should she return on January 24. Roy Bridgeman, President of CEUDA's Manitoba District Branch, says, "The Minister has to be fully aware of political ramifications from reducing hours of service and the number of Customs Officers at the border. This move will totally fly in the face of her Government's commitments to beef up border security at a time when it is really needed." Prime Minister Martin committed to beefing up border security, and CEUDA calls on the Liberal government to honour that commitment by not reducing hours of service or the number of Customs Officers working in Manitoba.

Bridgeman adds, "Residents in Manitoba will definitely feel negative ramifications from this ill conceived plan." CEUDA expects that reduction in levels of service will impact business in Canadian towns of Piney, Snowflake, La Riviere, Manitou, Crystal City, as well as surrounding communities, since U.S. tourists and locals will be hindered from crossing the border and will choose to shop in their own communities or simply stay home. Bridgeman continues, "There are so many businesses, sports teams, church congregations and agricultural economies in these small regions that rely heavily on crossing the border, but this has apparently been of no concern to CBSA management or Minister McClellan."

CEUDA claims security, already at a low along the border given closure of RCMP Detachments, will be even more compromised. Ron Moran, National President of CEUDA, says, "With already few "eyes on the border", a plan to make already scant operations even less effective across Manitoba will make the Canada U.S. border in Manitoba a smuggler's paradise between the hours of 6:01 p.m. and 8:59 a.m., every night of the week."

CBSA has advised it will not consult in any way with communities and that it will only inform them once the plan is signed off by the Minister. CEUDA has learned that Communities are not aware of this plan should Liberals form a Government on the 23rd.

CEUDA urges Manitobans to voice their opposition by calling Mr. Larry Conn, CBSA Director, Southern Manitoba, at (204) 373-2352; and to call Conservative Members of Parliament Mr. Brian Pallister at (204) 856-2090 and Mr. Vic Toews at (204) 326-9889 and confirm their intentions if they are elected.

Contact Information

    Ron Moran
    National President
    (613) 677-1090
    Steve Pellerin-Fowlie
    2nd National Vice-President
    responsible for Prairies
    (403) 836-5222
    Roy Bridgeman
    CEUDA's Manitoba District Branch
    (204) 745-8978
    Erik Lupien
    Communication and
    Political Coordination Officer
    (613) 723-8008