Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Fact Sheet

June 2012

CBSA International Network

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) international network enhances the security and integrity of Canada's border by identifying and interdicting dangerous or inadmissible people and goods at the earliest and farthest point possible from our physical border. The officers who make up this network also collaborate with foreign partners to promote global security.

The Government of Canada began deploying migration officers overseas in 1989, and the network has continued to evolve to meet changing global priorities and threats. In spring 2011, the CBSA began to expand the scope of its international network to better reflect the full spectrum of the Agency's mandate. With this new expanded profile, migration integrity officers (MIOs) were renamed CBSA liaison officers (LOs). The LOs focus on liaison, risk assessment, interdiction, information collection and training to deliver on the full spectrum of the Agency's mandate as it relates to immigration; supply chain security and facilitation; as well as food, plant and animal priorities. 

CBSA LOs protect the integrity of the Canadian border by:

  • Identifying high-risk travellers and cargo en route to Canada and advising on their admissibility;
  • Facilitating genuine travellers in need of assistance, especially during crises such as natural disasters or civil unrest;
  • Conducting investigations and reporting on priority information requirements;
  • Providing training and advice to airlines, Canadian immigration program staff, and foreign officials on the detection of fraudulent documents; and by
  • Assisting the repatriation of persons ordered removed from Canada, among other activities.

During fiscal year 2010–2011, LOs intervened in the cases of approximately 6,500 improperly documented travellers and facilitated the return to Canada of 3,181 travellers. In addition, LOs increased document examination training for carriers and host government officials, as well as continued to make improvements to irregular migration trends analysis. Furthermore, LOs assisted in 9,837 removals from Canada and helped evacuate Canadians in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake and political crises in North Africa.

Helping Canadians during international crises

LOs work with other government departments and international partners to provide on-the-ground assistance during emergencies such as natural disasters and civil unrest. During an emergency, additional temporary duty officers may also be dispatched to the region to provide assistance in the evacuation of Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The liaison officer's primary role during an evacuation is to screen individuals for proper travel and identity documentation and potential inadmissibility concerns before these individuals are evacuated by land, sea or air directly to Canada or to a safe third country.

Building capacity and strengthening ties

The CBSA international network plays an important role by representing the Agency abroad and works collaboratively with international partners to address serious global threats including terrorism, human smuggling, and organized crime through regular liaison activities, information sharing, and training. CBSA LOs are internationally recognized for their expertise in document verification skills and provide training every year to more than 14,000 individuals employed by foreign governments and airlines.

The CBSA international network logistics

The CBSA international network encompasses 63 officers posted in 49 strategic locations around the globe. Temporary duty officers are also deployed as needed to provide support during emergencies or to assist in strategic operations related to issues such as human smuggling prevention activities.