CBSA Statement Following a CTV News Story on Secondary Referrals

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) President, John Ossowski, made the following statement regarding the May 30th CTV story “Air travellers from Middle East, Africa, Caribbean more likely to face secondary inspection: CBSA.”

“The interpretation of statistics obtained by reporter Glen McGregor, through an access to information, is misleading and superficial.  It suggests that travellers originating from specific countries or with particular ethnic backgrounds are subject to profiling techniques by CBSA officers. There is nothing further from the truth. The CBSA does not engage in racial profiling.

“No one travelling to Canada is deemed inadmissible or subject to further scrutiny based on their citizenship or ethnicity. In fact, all persons, including Canadian citizens, seeking entry to Canada are subject to the same rules and regulations regardless of nationality, ethnicity and/or gender. Referrals for examinations are part of the normal cross-border travel process and should not be viewed as an accusation of wrong-doing. Referrals are made for a number of reasons, including:

  • Other government department regulations (Health Canada);
  • Document validation;
  • Declaration validation;
  • Immigration secondary to validate identity and issue documents for entry into Canada (study permits, work permits, Refugee processing)
  • Payment of duty and taxes.
  • Known risks

“CBSA officers are expected to enforce the regulations in a professional, courteous and respectful manner. Anyone who feels that they may have been subject to profiling or may have been wronged in any way by the CBSA may speak with a manager or may submit a complaint. For the record, there were nearly 95 million travelers in 2017, and only 2401 travellers (far less than 1%) filed any type of complaint. That said, all complaints are taken seriously and are investigated promptly and thoroughly, and appropriate follow-up action is taken.

“The men and women of the CBSA are well-trained. With millions of international travellers across all modes of travel, safety and security are always top of mind for our officers. Canadians and visitors can rest assured that the CBSA abides by all Canadian laws and regulations.

Source:  Canada Border Services Agency