May 7, 2019
Public Safety Canada
The Government of Canada is committed to providing border services that are world class and worthy of the trust of Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, strengthened the accountability of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) by introducing Bill C-98, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts to establish an independent review function of the CBSA.
By ensuring that people have an independent, trusted review body to go to when they have comments or complaints about experiences with the CBSA, Bill C-98 will ensure that the public can continue to expect consistent, fair and equal treatment when receiving services at the border.
This would be accomplished with respect to the CBSA by creating the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC) which would incorporate, strengthen and build upon the existing Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) that is currently the review agency for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The new PCRC would be responsible for handling reviews and complaints for both the CBSA and the RCMP.
Complaints from the public about the conduct of CBSA officers and the quality of services provided would be addressed to the new PCRC. It would also have the ability to review, on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister, any non-national security activity of the CBSA. This will bring Canada in line with peer countries such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“Robust, external accountability mechanisms are essential to ensuring the public’s confidence and trust. The new Public Complaints and Review Commission will fill a gap in our public safety accountability regime, enhance public confidence and strengthen the Canada Border Services Agency.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“Independent civilian oversight enhances the accountability of institutions, such as the CBSA, which hold significant enforcement authorities. The CRCC is well positioned to take on this new mandate given its current responsibilities for oversight of the RCMP. I look forward to working with stakeholders to advance this important initiative.”
– Michelaine Lahaie, Chairperson of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Government of Canada has strengthened accountability for national security by passing legislation to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) and is advancing legislation to create a new expert review body, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). These bodies provide accountability for the national security work of all departments and agencies, including the CBSA.
While the CBSA is already reviewed by various independent boards, tribunals and the courts, there is not an external review body for CBSA’s other functions, unlike other public safety agencies in Canada.
In 2017-18, CBSA employees interacted with over 96 million travelers, processed over 21 million commercial shipments and processed over 46 million courier shipments.