Canada Border Services Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Letter to the Editor

Re: « Une véritable passoire »

To the Editor in Chief
(Journal de Montréal)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) would like to respond to the article written by journalist Éric Thibault which appeared in the November 8 issue of the Journal de Montréal. We feel that some additional information will give your readers a more accurate and nuanced understanding of how marine containers at the Port of Montréal are currently inspected.

Concretely, this is how the CBSA protects the Port of Montréal. First, all marine carriers have to submit to the CBSA electronic reports on container cargo 24 hours before the containers are loaded at a foreign port. High-risk shipments are detected at this point. Our officers inspect containers based on a risk analysis. The CBSA uses a powerful targeting system that allows it to better assess the risks associated with cargo imports. Our Agency also has all the resources required to inspect containers deemed to be a risk.

Mr. Thibault claims in his article that the CBSA searches 1% of containers, which is misleading. The CBSA assesses the risk of 100% of marine containers to identify potentially high-risk shipments. The contents of high-risk shipments are then subject to further examination, which allows the CBSA to investigate all possible security threats. We use a number of state-of-the-art high-tech tools, such as radiation detection portals and large-scale imaging systems, as well as dockside examinations and even full offloads. This approach to the examination of shipments is the same at all major Canadian ports.

The results of these methods are convincing. Since 2005, our officers have carried out 72 seizures at the Port of Montréal worth nearly an estimated $2 billion. In addition, we work with a number of partners to fulfil our border safety mandate at the Port of Montréal, including the Montréal Port Authority, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Montréal police service.

Our work methods are rigorous and recognized, including by our neighbour and partner, the United States, which would like to develop a joint approach under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, by which similar risk management processes will be put in place to facilitate and expedite the movement of secure cargo.

The CBSA is proud of the exceptional work done by all of its employees. They are all helping to maintain a high level of security at the Canadian border every day.

Benoît Chiquette
Regional Director General
Canada Border Services Agency