Core Services
Air Services Policy Framework

The Air Services Policy Framework (ASPF) has been used by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) since April 1, 2009 to evaluate core service requests for new or expanded border clearance services at Canada's airports.

Before submitting such a request, airport authorities and municipalities are asked to perform a self-assessment to determine whether they may be eligible for new or expanded publicly funded border clearance services. This self-assessment should be based on criteria outlined in this document. All of the criteria must be met for airport authority or municipality requests to be considered by the CBSA. In some cases, other considerations may be explored in determining eligibility. Alternatively, the CBSA may also be able to provide after hour services or services at non-designated sites to a client through a negotiated cost recovery agreement. The cost recovery agreement process applies in cases when the requested CBSA services:

The levels of CBSA core services are broken down into four tiers. Each tier has been assigned a point range. Points are awarded using a formula-based rating on the following criteria:

The self-assessment must indicate the applicant qualifies for points in each of the three criteria.

Stakeholders

The following stakeholder groups are affected by this policy framework:

Definitions

Airport of entry (AOE)
An authorized airport where the CBSA clears all classes of scheduled and non-scheduled aircraft (traveller and cargo).  Any number following this designation indicates the maximum number of travellers (including crew) permitted to land at the specific location.
AOE/CANPASS
Airport of entry designated for CANPASS private and corporate permit holders only. CANPASS members can land at an AOE any time the airport is open for landing, regardless of the hours of business of the local CBSA office.
AOE/15 (general aviation)
An airport used solely for clearing persons arriving by general aviation aircraft (private or company) where the flights are unscheduled and the number of non-paying travellers on each flight does not exceed 15 (including the crew). These flights must obtain CBSA approval by contacting the CBSA's Telephone Reporting Center to enter or return to Canada, and they must land at an approved AOE during CBSA hours of business.
CBSA service location
A CBSA office that is legally designated to provide service.
Daily flights
Regularly daily scheduled international flights (excluding general aviation flights) that operate seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Seasonal service
The airport is eligible to receive publicly funded border clearance services to clear after hour seasonal flights. The airport must meet the eligibility criteria as outlined in the tier structure in order to receive seasonal service. The level of service will be determined by the specific CBSA regional office.

Requests for service changes

Step 1: Applicants conduct a self-assessment

The self-assessment establishes what, if any service, the applicant is eligible for. The level of service that may be provided is based on traveller volumes, distance to the nearest CBSA service location and the frequency of arriving international flights. If the self-assessment indicates that they may be eligible, applicants can then formally request new or expanded services by sending an e-mail to the CBSA at csr-esb@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca. The following information must be included:

  • The applicant's name;
  • The applicant's contact information;
  • The name of the airport authority or municipality;
  • The annual international traveller volumes (historical data);
  • A detailed business plan for expansion;
  • Proof of commitment from airlines;
  • The services that are currently provided on a cost-recovery basis (if applicable); and
  • The annual or seasonal international flight frequency.

Step 2: Core Services Unit (CSU) verifies eligibility

The CSU collects and verifies the information from the applicant.

  • If the CSU determines that the site is not eligible, a rationale will be provided to both the applicant and the appropriate CBSA regional office.
  • If the CSU determines that the site is eligible, the information will be submitted to the appropriate CBSA regional office for further review and recommendation.

Step 3: Regional review

The regional office initiates the Core Service Request (CSR) for the new or expanded services at the requested site.

The CSR details all the pertinent information needed in order for CBSA senior management to make an informed decision. Once completed, the CSR is sent to the CSU for processing.

Step 4: Final decision

Based on the recommendation from the regional office, the Vice-President, Operations Branch, makes the final decision and informs the region. The decision is communicated to the airport authority or municipality by the appropriate CBSA regional office.

The region can tailor CBSA services to meet the demands of the request.

Eligible sites can be reviewed annually to confirm their eligibility for continued publicly funded border clearance services.

Depending on unique circumstances, the CBSA reserves the right to maintain or withdraw services if airports no longer meet the requirements of the ASPF.

Note: In some cases, other considerations will be explored in determining eligibility.

Airport tiers: level descriptions and point scores

Tier 1: 86-100 points

Core Service Criteria

  • The airport is a large-volume international airport with daily scheduled international flights.
  • The airport handles a minimum of 50,000 international travellers each year.
  • The airport is located within 25 kilometres of the nearest CBSA service location.

Core Service Level Description

The airport is eligible to receive a minimum of 16 hours of publicly funded border clearance services seven days a week, to a maximum of 24 hours daily, seven days a week, based on specific needs.

Seasonal Service Criteria

  • The airport must receive scheduled international flights outside core service hours over a minimum period of three consecutive months. 

Seasonal Service Level Description

The airport is eligible to receive publicly funded border clearance services to clear after hour seasonal flights. Services could be tailored to meet the demands of the additional flights.

Tier 2: 46 to 85 points

Core Service Criteria

  • The airport handles a minimum of 5,000 international travellers each year.
  • The airport is located within 100 kilometres of the nearest CBSA service location.

Core Service Level Description

The airport is eligible to receive up to 16 hours of publicly funded border clearance services seven days a week.

Seasonal Service Criteria

  • The airport must handle a minimum of 5,000 international travellers per charter season.
  • The airport must be located within 25 kilometres of the nearest CBSA service location.

Service Level Description

The airport is eligible to receive publicly funded border clearance services to clear after hour seasonal flights. Services could be tailored to meet the demands of the additional flights.

Tier 3: 26 to 45 points

Core Service Criteria

  • The airport handles a minimum of 2,500 international travellers each year.
  • The airport is located within 100 kilometres of the nearest CBSA service location.

Core Service Level Description

The airport is eligible to receive up to eight hours of publicly funded border clearance services seven days a week.

Seasonal Service Criteria

  • The airport must handle a minimum of 2,500 international travellers per charter season.
  • The airport is located within 50 kilometres of the nearest CBSA service location.

Seasonal Service Level Description

The airport is eligible to receive publicly funded border clearance services to clear after hour seasonal flights. Services could be tailored to meet the demands of the additional flights.

Tier 4: 25 points or less

Core Service Criteria

  • The site should be within 100 kilometres of a full-service CBSA office which will provide the service.
  • The site should provide suitable facilities to conduct clearances, including secondary examinations as required. Minimum requirements usually include office space, counter or table, and suitable signage.
  • CBSA officers require unfettered access to the site regardless of whether airport employees are on site (i.e. CBSA must have keys to the office).
  • A telephone must be available.

Service Level Description

  • The airport offers AOE/CANPASS or AOE/15 (general aviation) services only.
  • CANPASS flights can land at any AOE during the operating hours of the airport.
  • Non-CANPASS flights must land at an approved AOE during the CBSA's hours of business. 

Requests for services over and above these designations could be met on a cost-recovery basis provided that sufficient CBSA resources are available to accommodate the request. New requests will be evaluated and considered by the local CBSA office.

Airport service level criteria

Criterion 1:  Annual international traveller volume at the airport
No. of international travellers Point value
0 0
2,500 12
5,000 24
20,000 36
50,000 48
100,000 60
Criterion 2: Distance to the nearest CBSA service location
Distance in kilometres Point value
0 20
25+ 12
50+ 6
100+ 0
Criterion 3: Frequency of arriving international flights
Flight frequency Point value
Daily 20
Seasonal 9
General aviation 0
Maximum point value per criterion
Criteria Total possible points
Traveller volume 60
Distance 20
Flight frequency 20
Total 100

Additional Information

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