CBSA to hire 270 more border officers

by Canadian Shipper

OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will hire an additional 270 border officers over five years, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Anne McLellan, announced recently at the 15th Annual Summit of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region in Seattle.

The hirings are just part of a series of measures to improve the management of border operations, as part of the 2005 Federal Budget, she said.

“Enhancing the CBSA’s capacity to manage the access of people and goods to and from Canada is a further demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensuring the safety, security and economic prosperity of all Canadians,” said Deputy Prime Minister McLellan. “It is also critical to our commitment to secure the Canada-U.S. border while ensuring the efficient flow of legitimate trade and traffic.”

Additional funding of $433 million to the CBSA over five years will support the Government of Canada’s priorities of national security and a strong economy. This funding will enable the CBSA to:

* Better respond to operational and security demands and border congestion at key border locations across the country by hiring 195 new border officers over five years. A portion of the new funds will also ensure permanent funding for service delivery at Pearson International Airport and for programs such as the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program that expedites border clearance for pre-approved, low-risk truck drivers, carriers and importers (FAST was previously funded on a year-to-year basis);
* Implement all the recommendations of the Job Hazard Analysis reports, contributing to the health and safety of CBSA’s front line employees and the public. To address employee health and safety concerns and to ensure a continued safe work environment for its employees, an additional 85 employees will be hired over five years, 75 of whom will be border officers bringing the total number to 270). The CBSA will also invest funds for training; tools and equipment, including radio equipment to support employees who work alone; facility design modifications; and the management of health and safety programs; and
* Improve overall service delivery to the public through appropriate investments in corporate infrastructure. To better support business and front line operations, funds will enable the CBSA to make critical corporate infrastructure investments, including the development and maintenance of information technology systems, enhancing financial, human resources and administrative management systems.

“These investments will help to provide the best possible integrated border services. They are essential to the CBSA’s ability to meet ongoing service innovation and improvement commitments,” said McLellan.

Lastly, the federal budget provides an additional amount of $134 million over five years to allow the CBSA to implement two other security initiatives. The CBSA will partner with the U.S. in the implementation of the Container Security Initiative.

CBSA officers will also be deployed to overseas seaports to enhance security measures as well as harmonize commercial processes and automated risk assessment systems in order to better protect North America. The CBSA will also be able to play a key role in a Government of Canada initiative aimed at enhancing marine security. This initiative is expected to further protect Canada and the U.S. from the entry of illicit radioactive sources, irregular migration and security threats at Canada’s marine ports and gateways.

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