The Government of Canada has implemented robust safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to support the movement of essential workers and goods across the border.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is currently working with other government departments and the importing community to facilitate the entry of COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment (PPE) through secure supply chains, including enforcement against illicit, substandard and counterfeit goods. Processes are in place to expedite customs releases at the border and minimize the time required for vaccines and PPE to reach their final destinations in Canada.
On January 26, the CBSA will join other border agencies around the world in marking International Customs Day.
This year’s theme, customs bolstering recovery, renewal and resilience for a sustainable supply chain, couldn’t be more fitting as the CBSA continues to support people and businesses by strengthening Canada’s supply chain, reinforcing collaboration, and harnessing new technologies.
Despite new and complex challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Agency continues to advance measures to make legitimate and essential cross-border travel and trade processing more secure and efficient.
During the pandemic, the CBSA has implemented and continued initiatives to harness technology and accelerate the implementation of innovative solutions.
- On June 30, 2020, the CBSA eliminated the paper-based export declaration form (B13A). All export declarations and summary reports must now be submitted by all clients electronically and can be done so using the new Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS). CERS is a free, web-based, self-service portal that allows the exporting community to electronically report their goods to the CBSA. CERS eliminates the need for exporters and customs service providers to download software and provides new features to improve data accuracy and reporting expediency. The implementation of CERS also establishes a technological platform to support the future needs and priorities of the export program.
- The CBSA continues to collaborate with industry Trade Chain Partners towards implementation of the CBSA Accounts and Revenue Management project in 2022 to simplify the importation process and provide modern border services for Canada’s Trade Community.
- Border Services Officers kept over 39,000 weapons off the streets of our communities in 2020. This represents a 135% increase over the total number of weapons seized for all of 2019. Additionally, 437 firearms were seized for the period of January 1 to October 31, 2020.
- From January 1 to October 31, 2020, the CBSA seized 391,848 kg of tobacco and 1,047 kg of cocaine. The total value of all drugs seized during that time was approximately $342 million.
- Trade Compliance Officers determined that a foreign importer of personalized stationaries contravened the Customs Act resulting in $1.9 million CAD in customs duties, GST and interest recovered. The total amount of duties and taxes (customs duties, surtaxes and GST) assessed nationally from January 1 to October 31, 2020 was approximately $24 million.
These are a few of the many examples from the CBSA’s enforcement and operational highlights for 2020.
The Agency also undertook enforcement measures through anti-dumping and countervailing investigations to address unfair trading practices during the pandemic, particularly on steel products such as heavy plate, concrete reinforcing bar, and grinding media.
In closing, the CBSA continues to implement measures to limit the spread of this pandemic, while collaborating with international partners, such as the World Customs Organization, to coordinate efforts to ensure the integrity of the global trade supply chains. The CBSA will continue to support border security, economic prosperity, and trade and travel facilitation to protect Canadians and enable our country’s economic growth.
“CBSA officers are among Canada’s important frontline workers, protecting Canadians day and night by keeping our border secure, reducing the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining the flow of essential goods to strengthen Canada’s economy. This International Customs Day, I want to recognize the professionalism and the unwavering service of CBSA employees who continue to come through for Canadians during these unprecedented times. It is thanks to their dedication that the essential goods needed most right now, such as the vaccines and personal protective equipment, get cleared at the border as soon as possible for entry into Canada.”
The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
There are exemptions in place on mandatory quarantine to ensure that critical infrastructure, essential services and economic supply chains continue to function normally between Canada and the U.S. Workers who are critical to our economy and infrastructure are permitted to enter Canada, including truck drivers, firefighters and medical workers.
Cross-border supply chains are vital to the continued flow of goods, including food and medical supplies for all Canadians. No measures have been introduced restricting commercial shipments or rendering certain products as non-essential. There were a total of 4,088,094 truck drivers entering Canada from March 21 to January 3, 2021.
As of December 30, 2020, 78 shipments of Pfizer vaccines and 1 shipment of Moderna vaccines have been cleared at various airports and 2 land borders.