Our Borders are Growing Increasingly Insecure

Toronto – Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members who work for Canada Border Services Agency and are a part of our Component (Customs and Immigration Union), are warning of changes that are undermining the security of our borders.

In addition to staffing cuts of 1000 front line officers brought about through the government’s budget cuts, we’re seeing the introduction of virtual Offices (Morses line Quebec and Piney Manitoba) where cars report in by phone and are ‘cleared’ by an border officer hundreds of kilometers away.

PSAC/CIU will be holding a rally at Pearson Airport on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 12:15pm to warn the public of these changes.

In addition, automated border clearance (ABC) machines are now a fixture at Canada’s 3 largest airports (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) and have been used by just over half of Canadians traveling. While these kiosks can scan passports and customs declaration cards, they cannot detect false declarations. Not surprisingly, since the introduction of these self-reporting machines, seizures are down significantly at all 3 airports.

“Soon every single traveler will be able to self-declare to a machine”, states Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Ontario Regional Executive Vice-President. “Already 95 per cent of travelers using ABC machines are not run through any criminal database.”

Now, ABC machines can also be used by Americans arriving in Canada and soon they will be available to all travelers regardless of citizenship, residency or origin of flight.

“When a missing or abducted child is brought into Canada, trained officers are their best chance to be saved”, states Mark Weber, CIU First National Vice-President. “How do these children tell a machine that they need help?”

CIU represents over 10,000 members across Canada including Canada’s Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers, Investigation, Intelligence and Trade Compliance Officers, Immigration Inland Enforcement and Hearings Officers, as well as all support staff.

For more information please contact Lino Vieira (vieiral@psac.com) 416-577-0238.