Internal Audit and Program Evaluation Directorate
Evaluation of the Officer Induction Model
October 2018

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Table of contents

At a glance: Evaluation Summary

Acronyms and Abbreviations

BSO or BSOs
Border services officer(s)
CBSA
Canada Border Services Agency
CDR
Competency Demonstration Report
DND
Department of National Defence
DPP
Duty Placement Process
FY
Fiscal Year
GBA+
Gender-Based Analysis Plus
HQ
Headquarters
HRB
Human Resources Branch
LDP
Limited Duration Post
MRB
Merit Review Board
OCCC
Officer Curriculum Consultative Committee
OIDP
Officer Induction Development Program
OITP
Officer Induction Training Program
OIM
Officer Induction Model
OPP
Ontario Provincial Police
OT
Overtime
O&R
Outreach and Recruitment
PMEC
Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee
POE
Port of entry
POERT
Port of Entry Recruitment Training
RCMP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
TDD
Training and Development Directorate
TPQ
Trainee Performance Questionnaire

Executive Summary

The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the performance (effectiveness and efficiency) of the Officer Induction Model (OIM), in accordance with the 2016 Treasury Board Secretariat’s Policy on Results. The evaluation was undertaken between May 2017 and May 2018.

Program Description

The OIM is a sub-program within the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) Force Generation Program. The OIM was introduced in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012–2013 to generate a modernized workforce of flexible, armed, mobile and job-ready CBSA officers who are prepared to respond to dynamic border issues. The target from 2012–2013 to 2016–2017 was to produce 288 CBSA College graduates per year based on A-base funding for 157 officers in addition to project funding.

The OIM is comprised of three phases: 1) the Officer Trainee Outreach and Recruitment (O&R); 2) the Officer Induction Training Program (OITP); 3) the Officer Induction Development Program (OIDP). During the O&R phase, applicants are recruited and subsequently assessed for eligibility into the CBSA’s training program. Eligible candidates are invited to complete four weeks of online training and 18 weeks at the CBSA College during the OITP phase. Recruits who successfully graduate from the CBSA College are then placed at a port of entry (POE) as Officer Trainees (FB-02) for a minimum of 12 months to complete the OIDP phase of the OIM. Those who successfully complete the OIDP phase are appointed to the FB-03 level as border services officers (BSO).

The Human Resources Branch (HRB) of the CBSA is responsible for the design and delivery of the OIM. The Operations Branch (Border Operations Directorate) also plays a key role in the delivery of the OIM, as they identify the port to be filled and manage the performance of the Officer Trainees during the OIDP phase. The Operations Branch is also the beneficiary (client) of the OIM.

Evaluation Methodology and Scope

The evaluation assessed the three phases of the OIM and covered a four year period from FY 2012-2013 to 2016-2017. An assessment of the National Training Plan, National Training Standards and instructor recruitment were not included as part of this evaluation.

Multiple lines of evidence were used to determine the extent to which the OIM achieved the desired (intended) results. Research methods included a review of key program documents, interviews, operational and administrative data analysis, field research, comparison with other law enforcement agencies, business process mapping and two surveys.

Evaluation Findings

Effectiveness – Extent to which the OIM achieved the expected results
Overall, the OIM has been effective at producing BSOs who are flexible, armed, job-ready, and prepared to respond to dynamic border issues. BSOs appointed through the OIM are ultimately receiving the right training to perform their duties, are achieving Agency performance standards, and are positively contributing to the Agency’s mandate. Some adjustments could be made to optimize the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of outreach, recruitment, training and development activities.

Although the OIM has been successful at graduating close to the target number of 288 Recruits each year, this target was based on the available funding at the time of the OIM’s inception and therefore, has not been revised to consider changes in attrition, promotion, and officers on duty to accommodate or leave without pay. As a result, the number of BSOs appointed through the OIM over the past five years has not met operational needs. While the intent of OIM is to permanently place officers at POEs that had identified a need for additional frontline resources, the continued prevalence of requests for transfer out of those POEs could indicate that the ideal placement model has not been found.

Workforce planning with regard to the demographics of officers needed (such as experience, gender, bilingualism, etc.) requires improvement. While the CBSA receives a sufficient volume of applications, without adequately identifying the demographics of officers required, outreach and recruitment activities have not targeted the applicants to align with Agency needs and reduce demographic gaps within the BSO population. For instance, the current populations of female, bilingual and Indigenous officers that will be appointed through the OIM may be insufficient to sustain future employment equity and operational targets for the BSO population. This is especially true as POEs lose BSOs to promotions in other areas within the CBSA, to other government organizations or to natural attrition.  

The Officer Allowance at the College and the mobility clause could be limiting the ability of the CBSA to remain competitive and to effectively place Officer Trainees where they are needed. Other organizations, some of which are competing with the CBSA for applicants (such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Ontario Provincial Police), are providing higher compensation/stipend during training. The training stipend and the process used by the CBSA to recruit and place officers in regions across Canada have had negative impacts on the Recruits and Officer Trainees, which could result in a less than desirable image of the Agency. Since word of mouth was the most frequently cited mechanism through which applicants have been made aware of career opportunities at the CBSA, improving the experience of Recruits and Officer Trainees could help attract quality applicants while ensuring that the needs of the Agency are met.

The evaluation also highlighted several challenges that existed with the process used during the O&R phase of the OIM to assess and select candidates for the training program. The process was found to be too lengthy and the quality of the communication with the applicants/candidates required improvement. A limiting factor to an effective Application and Selection process has been the absence of an adequate information system to manage candidates. Stakeholders are aware of some of these challenges and are redesigning and launching a new Application and Selection process that is expected to improve the way in which candidates are assessed. Monitoring improvements to the new process will be important.

With regard to the OITP phase of the OIM, the training is generally well-regarded and the College is delivering training as currently prescribed. However, the College curriculum could be reviewed to determine if further enhancements are required with a view to better address national operational requirements. Operational staff identified what they believe to be training gaps in the curriculum and consequently POEs have taken the initiative to address these gaps by offering essential training during the OIDP (post-graduation from the College). Since regions are not funded to provide essential training and only a limited onboarding strategy exists for Officer Trainees during the OIDP, this has also resulted in inconsistent training delivery from one POE to the next based on resource availability.

Finally, there were several design elements of the OIDP that were identified as requiring refinements in order to ensure effectiveness in appointing BSOs. The tools used to evaluate Officer Trainees during the OIDP were found to produce inconsistent results and may not provide the best indication of competencies achieved.

Efficiency – Extent to which the OIM achieved results in an efficient manner

It is taking too long to appoint officers through the OIM. The average current length from application to appointment as an Officer Trainee (FB-02) is 18 months. An additional 12 to 18 months is spent in the OIDP prior to being promoted as a BSO (FB-03), resulting in a total of 30 to 36 months in the OIM. This timeframe appears to be longer than other comparative law enforcement agencies who are taking between three and 12.5 months to train and develop their officers. Efficiency could be improved, particularly by shortening the length of the O&R (Application and Selection) phase and the OIDP.

The process efficiency of the O&R phase also requires improvement, but is expected to be addressed by the new recruitment process (scheduled to launch in 2018). Based on the selection process used in the past five years, a high volume of candidates required screening in order to produce the desired output of 288 graduating recruits. Performance measurement will be required to monitor expected improvements in efficiency.

Recommendations:

The findings of the evaluation led to the following seven Recommendations:

  1. The Vice-President of Operations Branch, in consultation with the Vice-Presidents of Programs Branch and Human Resources Branch, should develop a multi-year, annually updated, Workforce Plan that considers the full range of factors to identify the optimum number, type and location of BSOs to meet operational needs. The Workforce Plan will need to include a placement strategy that allows identification of placement as early as possible in the OIM process;
  2. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a national outreach and recruitment strategy that considers more effective and efficient screening processes, targets known gaps in BSO representation, such as gender, gaps in BSO staffing at specific POEs, and operational language requirements. The strategy should be updated annually to provide revised targets and priority areas for outreach activities conducted by the regions;
  3. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should review the training stipend provided during the OITP to improve CBSA’s competitiveness to attract quality candidates;
  4. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a performance measurement framework for the OIM (including all phases), and ensure that improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the new Recruitment model are monitored;
  5. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a plan to improve the case management of individuals throughout all phases of the OIM;
  6. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch, in consultation with the Vice-President of Programs Branch and the Vice-President of Operations Branch, should:
    1. Identify how and at which phase of the OIM the competencies for new BSOs will be assessed, with particular attention to the OIDP; and
    2. Identify training needs for new BSOs and determine appropriate phase(s) in which training is delivered;
  7. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should review the tools and length of the OIDP. A reduction to the existing timeline to be eligible for appointment (currently at 12 months minimum) should be considered; and
  8. The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should conduct a comprehensive Gender-Based Analysis to identify the specific barriers that affect the experiences of individuals of different backgrounds (i.e., gender, race, socio-economic status, age, etc.) in all phases of the OIM.

1. Introduction

1.1. Evaluation Purpose and Scope

This report presents the results of the evaluation of the Officer Induction model (OIM). In accordance with the 2016 Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Results, the main objective of the evaluation was to examine the performance (effectiveness and efficiency) of the OIM.

The scope of the evaluation was approved by the Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC) on May 22, 2017, as part of the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) 2016 Integrated Audit and Evaluation Plan. The evaluation assessed the three phases of the OIM including: Outreach and Recruitment (O&R), the Officer Induction Training Program (OITP), and the Officer Induction Development Program (OIDP) and covered a five year period from fiscal year (FY) 2012–2013 to 2016–2017.Footnote 1 An assessment of the National Training Plan, National Training Standards and instructor recruitment were not included as part of this evaluation.

1.2. Program Description

The OIM was introduced in FY 2012–2013 to provide a consistent and comprehensive approach to recruiting, assessing, training, and developing high-calibre CBSA officers suited for service in an armed law-enforcement agency. Through the OIM, the Agency’s goal is to produce a modernized workforce of CBSA officers who are flexible, armed, job-ready, mobile, and prepared to respond to dynamic border issues. The OIM replaced the previous model used by the CBSA, the Port of Entry Recruit Training (POERT).

The OIM is comprised of three phases: 1) the Officer Trainee Outreach and Recruitment; 2) the OITP; 3) and the OIDP.

Although ‘Outreach’ and ‘Recruitment’ are included under one phase of the OIM, they are two distinct sets of activities. Outreach consists of all activities conducted before individuals apply to the CBSA, while Recruitment encompasses activities after applications are submitted and includes CBSA’s assessment of eligible individuals to determine their suitability for the training program. Individuals at the Outreach stage are referred to as ‘applicants’, while those being assessed by the CBSA’s Recruitment team are referred to as ‘candidates’. Once candidates are screened and invited to the OITP, they become ‘Recruits’ and complete four weeks of online training before they are invited to attend the CBSA College. After 18 weeks at the College, those deemed successful become Officer Trainees and are placed in the region to complete the OIDP phase of the OIM at the FB-02 level. After 12 months in the OIDP, a Merit Review Board (MRB) receives an evaluation package and determines the Officer Trainee’s readiness for appointment to a Border Services Officer (BSO) at the FB-03 level. Those not recommended for appointment may complete an additional 3 to 6 months at the FB-02 level before being reconsidered by the MRB for appointment. Those not successful after 18 months in the OIDP are released from the program. Additional details of each phase of the OIM are included in Appendix C - Program Profile.

The OIM’s target from 2012–2013 to 2016–2017 was to produce 288 OITP graduates annually. This target was based on the available A-base funding at the time of the OIM’s inception as well as project funding. It should be noted, however, that past federal cost-cutting exercises affected the number of candidates that were invited to attend the CBSA College in 2012–2013, which in turn affected the number of graduates produced in 2013–2014 and the overall average output over five years.

Based on the delivery model used over the last five years, it has taken between 2.5 and 3 years to appoint a BSO through the OIM. The actual outputs produced by the different phases of the OIM and the average length of each phase are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: OIM outputs and length of each phase.

  Outreach Recruitment OITP OIDP
Average length of each phase of the OIM N/A 12 - 14 months 5.5 months 12 – 18 months
Output over 4 years 81,755
Applications Received
1,338
Candidates Invited to the OITP
1,110
Graduating Recruits (FB-02)
1,030
Appointed BSOs
(FB-03)
Average output per year 20,439
Applications Received per year
334.5
Candidates Invited to the OITP per year
277.5
Graduating Recruits per year
257.5
Appointed BSOs per year
Source: Public Service Commission (PSC) data, October 2017; National Officer Recruitment Program, HRB, August 2017; CBSA College, HRB, October 2017; CBSA, Workforce and Demographic Analysis, HRB, December 2017.

1.3. Key Stakeholders and Program Management Structure

The Human Resources Branch (HRB) of the CBSA is responsible for the OIM. Within the HRB, two directorates are responsible for the delivery of the different phases of the OIM:

The Operations Branch (Border Operations Directorate) is also considered a key stakeholder, as it is responsible for identifying the location of placements (ports of entry that need staffing) and the performance management of the Officer Trainees during the OIDP. While the Director General of TDD recommends Officer Trainees for promotion, the Regional Director General of each host region is the delegated authority to appoint successful Officer Trainees in their Region to an FB-03 BSO position. The Regional Director General of the host region is responsible for ensuring compliance with the mutually agreed upon OIDP Agreements and supporting participants in their region while in the OIDP.Footnote 3

The Operations Branch (Border Operations Directorate) is also the beneficiary of the program, as they will eventually employ the BSOs produced through the OIM.

Currently, the Programs Branch does not play an explicit role in the delivery of the OIM, but may be able to advice on the future needs of the OITP curriculum design.

1.4 Resources

The current resources used by the OIM is $40 millionFootnote 4 annually, including 157 full-time equivalents. Estimated costs include all three phases of the OIM and Officer Trainees’ salary costs while performing their duties at one of the CBSA's ports of entry (POE) across Canada for the OIDP.

2. Evaluation Methodology

An Evaluation Advisory Committee was established to support the evaluation by providing input, advice and suggestions regarding evaluation deliverables. The committee membership was established at the outset of the evaluation and included Directors General from all branches of the Agency.

The OIM is not considered a ‘program’ from an Agency Departmental Results Framework perspective, but rather, a component of the Force Generation Program. At the time of the evaluation, the Force Generation Program did not have a performance measurement framework or an approved logic model. A logic model for the OIM, developed for the purpose of this evaluation, is included in Appendix D – OIM Logic Model and identifies the following expected outcomes:

The evaluation focused on the achievement of the immediate and intermediate outcomes.

The methodology for this evaluation includes multiple lines of evidence and complementary research methods. The specific methods used include: 

  1. Document Review;
  2. Interviews with program management, partners, and key stakeholders;
  3. Field research;
  4. Data analysis (including operational, performance, human resource and financial data);
  5. Surveys of OIM trainees (n=848) and Staff (n=338);
  6. A comparison of Other Government Departments; and
  7. Business Process Mapping.

A detailed description of research methods used, limitations, and challenges is provided in Appendix B: Evaluation Methodology. A Gender-Based Analysis+ (GBA+) was also conducted as part of this evaluation to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may have experienced the OIM.Footnote 5

Consultations with key stakeholders and a review of key documents during the planning stage assisted in refining the evaluation questions to ensure that the evaluation provided useful information for decision making. Since the OIM is a critical set of activities that enables the CBSA to deliver on its core mandate and the context under which it is delivered has not changed, the evaluation did not include evaluation questions related to relevance (i.e. continued need for the program or alignment with Government and CBSA priorities). The need for the OIM is supported by annual turn-over of BSOs which necessitates regular replenishment, and by the requirement of BSOs to receive job-specific training that cannot be obtained elsewhere. As such, evaluation questions focused on an assessment of effectiveness and efficiency/economy as follows:

3. Findings - Effectiveness

3.1. Outreach – Attracting the Right Number and Type of Applicants

Finding 1: Despite minimal outreach conducted over the last five years, the volume of applicants has remained consistently high.

Minimal to no outreach activities were conducted regionally or nationally by the CBSA during the first three years of the OIM; however, the number of applications received by the CBSA remained relatively high. For instance, the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 selection processes yielded 25,285 and 22,787 applications respectively. Although OIM outreach was reinstated in July 2014Footnote 6 and a variety of outreach activities were conducted in every region across Canada for the next two years, the number of applications did not increase in subsequent years.

As shown in Table 2, the total number of applications received per year by the CBSA was more than twice as many as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who received an average of 7,912 applications per year to staff an average of 881 positions per year.Footnote 7

Table 2: Comparison of applications received by the CBSA and the RCMP. This table shows that CBSA receives nearly twice as many applications as the RCMP.

FY Applications Received by the CBSA Footnote 8 Applications Received by the RCMP
2012–2013 25,285 6,091
2013–2014 22,787 7,860
2014–2015 16,842 9,784
2015–2016 16,842 Not available
Total 81,755 23,735
Avg. per year 20,439 7,912
Sources: Public Service Commission data, October 2017; RCMP, Evaluation of the Cadet Recruitment Allowance - Full Report. March 2017, p. 12.

Results from the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey also suggests that outreach has had limited influence on applicants, as approximately 85% of survey respondents stated that they did not learn about career opportunities at the CBSA from CBSA-sponsored outreach and recruitment activities. The majority of survey respondents stated their application to the CBSA for the BSO position was a result of word of mouth. Survey results indicate that the CBSA is still seen by applicants as their employer of choice despite the availability of other similar positions and without efforts from the CBSA to influence their decision. Although 67% of the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey respondents stated that they had also applied to another organization, many (69%) confirmed that the CBSA was their employer of choice and 75.6% believe they will still be with the CBSA in five years, in one capacity or another.

Finding 2: The type of applicants that the Agency attracts could be better aligned with Agency needs and the BSO competencies being sought. The Officer Allowance at the College, the mobility clause, and the lengthy process could be limiting the quality of applications received.

The Agency has identified the following eight desired competencies as essential for the BSO position:

While the CBSA receives a high volume of applications, the low percentage of candidates who are assessed as meeting the desired competencies could be an indication that the type of applicants the Agency attracts could be improved. Data analysis shows that only 4% of the candidates who were assessed were invited to the CBSA College and only 3.4% were eventually appointed as a BSO. Although those appointed are meeting the desired competencies and other screening requirements (such as security screening) for the BSO position, the large majority of candidates (96.6%) did not.Footnote 9 Compared to the RCMP, a much lower percentage of applicants are accepted into the OIM training program (see Table 3).

Table 3: Comparison of enrollment rates from the total number of applications assessed by the CBSA and the RCMP. This table shows that the RCMP applicants are accepted into the training program at a higher rate than CBSA applicants.

Organization Avg. Applications Received per Year Applications Assessed per YearFootnote 10 Avg. Enrolled at the Training College per Year Avg. Enrollment Rate
RCMP 7,912 7,912 830 10.5%
CBSA 20,439 7,562 294 4%
Source: PSC data, October 2017; RCMP, Evaluation of the Cadet Recruitment Allowance - Full Report, March 2017, pg. 12.

The national poster currently targets individuals who are willing to move anywhere in Canada (to fulfill the Agency’s desire for a fully-mobile force) and who are financially able to live four and half months on an allowance of $125 per week. This may be unintentionally deterring other highly qualified applicants from applying since not all individuals want to or are able to relocate anywhere in Canada, and not everyone’s financial situation would allow them to live four months without a salary. While the requirement for a fully-mobile force falls outside the purview of the OIM, the training stipend during the OITP is within the control of the OIM program design. Interviewees unanimously agreed that the allowance of $125 per week should be reviewed, as it could deter more experienced candidates from applying. The Officer Allowance at the College was identified by 85% of the respondents to the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey as a barrier leading to negative impacts on the Recruits’ financial, emotional, and social states.

Other organizations, some of which are competing with the CBSA for applicants, are providing higher compensation/stipend during training. For instance, the RCMP is paying four times the allowance, while other organizations are paying a full salary during training. As can be seen in Table 4, the CBSA Officer Allowance of $125 per week is far below that of the RCMP at $500 per week. When length of time at their respective colleges and starting salary thereafter are taken into account, a successful CBSA Officer Trainee is compensated slightly more than an RCMP Cadet in their first year; however, according to interviewees, that the training stipend is diminished by the loans required or the savings that were depleted by Recruits in the four and a half months that they had to spend at the College with minimal income. Through interviews, the impacts of the financial stress during the OITP were referenced, including struggling to make mortgage payments, exhausting savings, and paying out of pocket for moving and medical expenses.

Table 4: Comparison of compensation/stipend received during the first 12 months (including allowance during training, if applicable, and salary for the remainder of the first year). Other law enforcement organizations are compensating their recruits more during training.

  CBSA RCMP Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Ottawa Police Service (OPS)
Pay during Training $125/week $500/weekFootnote 11 $1,019/weekFootnote 12 $1,060/weekFootnote 13
Compensation/stipend during the first 12 months $40,223 $39,572 $62,849 $47,953Footnote 14
Source: PSC data, October 2017; RCMP, Evaluation of the Cadet Recruitment Allowance - Full Report, March 2017, pg. 12.

In terms of the mobility clause, one example that illustrates it is a deterrent to potential applicants is to look at the level of interest of the student BSO population in pursuing a career with the CBSA. Student BSOs have direct experience and exposure to processing travellers for the CBSA, but some do not apply to become full-time BSOs because of the requirement to accept a position anywhere in Canada, even when there are positions available close to their home region. The Pacific Region conducted a survey of student BSOs and found that 85% of students would be interested in a fast-tracking program to become full-time BSOs, but 46% stated that they would not be interested unless they could remain in their home region.Footnote 15  Survey respondents and interviewees cited the negative impacts that would result from moving away from their home region as the reason applicants may hesitate to apply to the CBSA. Impacts, such as, lack of support networks, lack of cultural connections, strain on family and relationships, isolation, and loneliness were mentioned. Although other similar organizations also require their staff to relocate their families, the CBSA does not currently have any support programs or networks in place to support spouses and families of BSOs being relocated, a successful practice that organizations such as the Department of National Defence (DND) have enacted.

While targeted outreach activitiesFootnote 16 in regions where there is a high need for officers (e.g., Prairie Region), may yield local applicants that would be willing to be placed in those regions, the current Duty Placement Process (DPP) used in the OIM does not guarantee that Officer Trainees will be placed in their home region.

Recent developments in the O&R phase of the OIM show potential for improvements in this area. Stakeholders have advised that the Small Communities Job Advertisement initiative launched in February 2018, gives applicants the ability to choose their top three preferences among a list of available district groupings.Footnote 17 The next National Selection Process due to launch in the summer of 2018 will also provide applicants the opportunity to state their preference. This is expected to address some of the challenges with aligning applicant preference and the needs of the Agency. Given these changes have yet to be fully implemented, an assessment of the success of these developments falls outside the scope of the evaluation.

3.2. Outreach – The Required Demographic of Applicants

Finding 3: There is a need to attract more female, bilingual and Indigenous applicants to ensure the Agency meets the representation targets of these individuals within the BSO populations. The Agency attracts a sufficient number of visible minority applicants.

Female Applicants

The Agency is not attracting enough females to the program in order to sustain the current population of female BSOs. Based on workforce availability,Footnote 18 females should occupy 21.9% of FB-03 positions whereas the current percentage of females among the BSO population is 37%.Footnote 19 While there is no current gap in the representation of female BSOs, based on an analysis of historical data of the number of females throughout the OIM, at the current rate and in addition to regular attrition, the representation will decrease as a result of the eventual appointment of a lower percentage of female officers through the OIM in the next few years. As can be seen in Figure 1, females represent approximately 44% of all applicants to the OIM,Footnote 20 but only 23% of female applicants are invited to the CBSA College. The percentage of female Recruits currently in the OITP and Officer Trainees in the OIDP is only 22.6% and 22.5% respectively, therefore, not enough female BSOs will be appointed from the OIM to sustain the current percentage of 37% among the BSO population.

The BSO population also loses a significant number of female officers to promotions. Data analysis indicates that the percentage of females promoted to more senior positions (FB-04 to FB-07) is higher than in the male population. While females represent 37% of FB-03s, 47% of the position at the FB-05 and FB-07 level are occupied by females. Although promotions impact the representation of all BSOs, they have a bigger impact on the representation of female officers.

Figure 1: Gender representation during the OIM. This graph shows that the representation of females in the OITP and the OIDP has been lower than the representation of males. If this trend continues, it will lead to the appointment of a lower percentage of female BSOs and ultimately affect BSO representation.

Source: PSC data, October 2017; National Officer Recruitment Program, HRB, August 2017; CBSA College, HRB, October 2017; CBSA

Historically, the target for female BSOs has not been adjusted to consider operational requirements. As required by the Customs Act,Footnote 21 the CBSA needs a sufficient number of female officers to conduct searches of female travellers. Given these operational requirements and when compared to the targets of other organizations such as the RCMP and the DND, the target of 21.9% for female BSOs appears low. In 2014–2015, the RCMP target for female officers was set at 35% (their actual was 21%).Footnote 22 The DND has recently set a target to increase the percentage of females in the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular and/or Reserve Forces) to at least 25.1% by 2026.Footnote 23

Bilingual Applicants

The number of bilingual Recruits and Officer Trainees in the OIM has been insufficient to close existing gaps in the BSO population. Operations has identified that 33% of all BSOs must be bilingual in order to meet the minimum official languages requirements. Currently, only 30.2% of all BSOs are bilingual, therefore showing an overall gap of 3%. This gap will continue to widen as there is an insufficient number of bilingual Recruits and Officer Trainees going through the OIM.Footnote 24

In 2016–2017, the Operations Branch identified the need for an additional 715 BSOs, for which 57% should be bilingual in order to meet operational needs and close the bilingual gap. Figure 2 shows that the gap between the numbers of bilingual individuals needed to be recruited and trained through the OIM and the actual number of bilingual individuals that have gone through the OIM. The gap has increase by 10% over six cohorts, as only 26.8% of Recruits who graduated from the CBSA College and 27.1% of Officer Trainees in the OIDP were bilingual. At this rate, the Agency will continue to increase its bilingualism deficit. This gap also does not take into account any additional losses in bilingual officers due to promotion, attrition, or retirement. Bilingual capacity in modes not staffed by Officer Trainees, such as postal or marine, is also lacking. Since BSOs are often pulled from land border crossings or airports to fill these positions, the gap will further widen.

Figure 2: Bilingual gap by cohort.Footnote 25This figure shows that the bilingual gap has continued to increase from cohort 2 through cohort 8.

Source: CBSA, Corporate and Program Services, Operations Branch, December 2017.

Interviewees suggested that the lack of bilingual officers is already having an impact on operations, as evidenced by official languages complaints from the travelling public. From FY 2013–2014 to 2017–2018 the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages received an average of 18.6 official languages complaints against the CBSA per year, for a total of 93 complaints.Footnote 26 The number of complaints received per year was consistent over the five years.

Indigenous Applicants

There is also a gap in the representation of Indigenous BSOs. The Workforce Availability (WFA) target for the Indigenous representation among the FB category is 4%, but only 3.5% of FBs self-identify as Indigenous. The Agency has identified the need to further increase the recruitment of Indigenous people to sustain these numbers. However, there may be an insufficient volume of Indigenous recruits entering the OIM, as only 2.7% of applicants to the OIM self-identify as Indigenous. This volume of Indigenous Recruits is insufficient to ultimately fill the gap.

Visible Minority Applicants

There is no discernable gap in the representation of visible minorities among the BSO population. According to data provided by the Agency’s Employment Equity group, the target for visible minorities in the FB category is 7.4%, while the current representation is 13.6%. About 22.3% of the applications pulled by the CBSA from the inventory are from applicants who self-identifyFootnote 27 as visible minority. The percentage of visible minorities appointed to BSO from the OIM is approximately 20%.Footnote 28

Targeted OutreachFootnote 29

While there may be a need to increase the representation of female, Indigenous and bilingual officers, the Outreach and Recruitment (O&R) activities have not targeted these applicants in order to fill the gaps. Interviewees suggested that the only target used during the O&R is the need to graduate 288 Recruits per year. In order to yield this number of graduates, a target number of candidates required to be pulled from the inventory is determined by taking into consideration attrition at each stage of the Application and Selection process. Interviews with management-level OIM staff confirmed the need to use targets not only to guide outreach activities but also for selecting and prioritizing the assessment of candidates based on need. The current practice is to pull applicants for assessment on a random basis from the inventory. It was unclear whether or not employment equity targets are communicated to O&R staff or to the regions who conduct the outreach activities,Footnote 30 but nonetheless, it appears that such targets were not historically used to guide outreach and recruitment activities. Although the type and number of outreach activities that were conducted over the last five years were not consistently documented, one sample of 79 outreach activities conducted in all regions in the seven months between January and July 2016 suggests that outreach activities were not always targeting known gaps.Footnote 31 Of these 79 activities, only six (8%) specifically targeted Indigenous applicants and only six others (8%) specifically targeted French speaking applicants. No specific outreach activities were conducted to target female applicants.

Given the CBSA receives a sufficient number of applications, targeted outreach activities and targeted marketing material designed to help attract specific types of applicants to fill existing gaps may be more worthwhile for the Agency. The Recruitment Landscape Report, produced for the CBSA’s Corporate Communications Branch in 2015 concurs, stating that there is a need to “ensure media placements put a focus on minority languages, women, rural and remote areas especially those with higher unemployment due to cyclical or seasonal industries.”Footnote 32

3.3 Recruitment – Screening and Selecting the Right Candidates

Finding 4: The Recruitment (Application and Selection) process used in the OIM is an improvement over the previously used model under the POERT. While the OIM recruitment process effectively selected candidates with the right competencies, additional enhancements are required to improve the candidate experience and select the right number of candidates.

Improvements Achieved

The OIM, which was a redesign of the POERT recruitment process, is seen by all stakeholders as a more nationally consistent and fair approach to meet the overall needs of the Agency. In the POERT model, BSO recruitment was a centrally managed process but responsibility for recruitment was shared between Headquarters (HQ) and the regional offices. While HQ managed the recruitment campaign, the regional offices assessed the candidates and ensured that the required supporting documents were included in the candidate’s file. According to interviewees, this approach was inconsistent, as individuals were assessed differently from region to region. Also, the regional approach to selection did not meet the needs of the Agency at the national level, as some regions were more effective than others at staffing. Conversely, under the OIM, the selection process is now done at the national level, all candidates are assessed using the same tools and by the same standards, using the same level of rigour. Applicants from across Canada have an equal opportunity to available positions throughout Canada. The OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey confirmed that the majority of survey respondents (86%) feel that their eligibility was assessed in a fair manner, and most (71%) also agree that they were well informed of the steps required as part of the selection process.

The success rate of OIM participants at the College (92% over 4 years) is higher than the graduation rate of 82% under the POERT model,Footnote 33 and is comparable to the RCMP average success rate of 87%.Footnote 34 This success rate suggests that the Agency is generally selecting individuals with the right competencies for success and is providing support to ensure success for the majority of Recruits. The efforts by the CBSA College to support Recruits, including academic support and additional assistance to complete the Duty Firearm Course for those who show potential, is seen as a positive addition to the model. Of the Recruits who did not succeed at the College, the academic portion of the OITP curriculum (which includes both the core material and simulations) was the primary reason for failure, as identified by data provided by the CBSA College (cited as the reason for failure in 48% of cases). The failure rate for the Core TrainingFootnote 35 was 2.5%, while the failure rate during the Use of Force component was 1.4%. Since these failure rates are both relatively low, this indicates that the Agency is selecting individuals with the capacity and appropriate aptitudes to succeed in the OITP and providing appropriate levels of support. The OIM Evaluation Staff Survey showed that approximately 81% of staff involved in the delivery of the OITP curriculum and/or assessment of the Recruits (n=85) indicated they are satisfied with the quality of the Recruits admitted to the College.

Areas for Improvement

While the right candidates have been selected, Recruitment has not consistently screened and selected a sufficient number of candidates in order to meet the Agency’s funded target of graduating 288 Recruits per year. As illustrated in Table 5, the established funded target of graduating 288 Recruits per year from the College was met for only two out of four years.Footnote 36 Stakeholders explained that for FY 2012–2013, the OIM was constrained by federal cost-cutting exercises, and as such was only able to invite 73 candidates to attend the CBSA College as part of Cohort 1. Attrition during the online phase and at the College also affected the total number of graduates. With a target of 288 College graduates per year, the Agency should have graduated a total of 1,152 Recruits by the end of FY 2016–2017, but only graduated 1,109, resulting in a gap of 43 graduates.

Table 5: CBSA College graduates per year since the inception of the OIM. The gap between Recruits graduating from the CBSA College and the funded target of 288 per year has resulted in a deficit of 43 graduates over four years.

FY Invited to Online % Successful online Attended the College % Successful at College Graduated the College Gap
2013–2014 240 90% 215 90% 194 -94
2014–2015 395 91% 359 95% 342 53
2015–2016 322 95% 307 93% 284 -4
2016–2017 381 86% 329 88% 290 2
Total 1338 - 1210 - 1109 -43
Average 334.5 90% 302.5 92% 277.5 -
Source: CBSA College, HRB, October 2017.

The impact of attrition rates during both portions of the OITP (online and in-residence) is important to determining an appropriate volume of candidates to invite to the College in order to produce the target number of graduates. As illustrated in Table 5, between 10% and 14% of candidates invited to the online phase of the OITP do not proceed to the in-residence portion, as some voluntarily drop out while others are not invited to proceed to the next phase.Footnote 37 Another 5% to 12% of candidates do not graduate from the College. As illustrated by the volume of candidates entering the program in the two years the OIM met the target (2014–2015 and 2016–2017) number of graduates, about 100 additional Recruits were invited to the online portion of the OITP to meet the target of 288 graduating Recruits.

There are also opportunities to improve the candidate experience at the Recruitment phase of the OIM. The process that candidates underwent before being selected for the training program was very long and communication to candidates was regarded as poor. Through the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey only about half (51%) of respondents stated they were satisfied with their experience in the Application and Selection phase of the OIM, as is illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Satisfaction rate with the Application and Selection Process, as expressed through the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey. The graph shows that satisfaction rate for the Application and Selection process of the OIM was 51%.

Source: CBSA, OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey 2017.

OIM participants who indicated they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the Application and Selection process were asked which step or requirement they found problematic and 164 respondents each provided multiple reasons for their dissatisfaction. Their responses were coded for common themes. As can be seen in Table 6, the overall length of the selection process and challenges with communication were the most frequently cited reasons for dissatisfaction.

Table 6: Application and Selection Process – areas of dissatisfaction (n=164).Footnote 38The lengthy process and poor communication is causing the most dissatisfaction.

Survey Question General theme Theme of response %
What specific step(s) or requirement(s) of the Application and Selection process were you dissatisfied with and why? Length of the Process
(51% of responses)
Length overall 34%
Delays between stages 17%
Communication
(62% of responses)
Communication issues 47%
Short notice before next stage 15%
Other
(48% of responses)
Travelling / Costs 10%
Disorganized Overall 10%
Remarks on Specific Aspect of Process 11%
Other 17%
Source: CBSA, OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey, 2017.

When survey respondents were specifically probed about receiving information regarding Recruitment in a timely manner, 34% of respondents stated they did not receive timely communication. When survey respondents were explicitly asked about their opinion on the length of time from their initial application to their admission to the College, approximately 43% of respondents stated that it was unreasonable. The comments from the survey on the challenges with communication were confirmed by staff at the CBSA College who stated that the College’s reception desk often receives calls from candidates who have not yet been accepted into the College, as they were not provided a proper contact to direct their inquiries or status update requests.

Data analysis conducted by the evaluation on the length of time of the Recruitment phase of the OIM confirmed that it is taking between 12 and 14 months to process an individual from application pull to invitation to the on-line portion of the OITP, with some applicants spending up to 18 months in this phase. This does not include the time that a candidate spent in the inventory before their application was pulled for processing. Negative comments provided by interviewees about the Application and Selection process during regional site visits also confirmed the findings in the survey. The experiences of candidates during this initial phase of the OIM can leave a lasting impression about the Agency. This can also have a negative impact on future applicants who hear about the experiences of others. As discovered through the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey, about 38% of applicants learned about career prospects as a BSO from an existing BSO or other CBSA employees.

Finding 5: A limiting factor to an effective Recruitment process in the OIM has been the absence of an adequate information system to manage candidates being screened and assessed.

From the Agency’s perspective, a major challenge in the Recruitment phase of the OIM, is the ability to manage the status of each application. The Recruitment phase of the OIM is a resource-intensive phase that requires the screening of a large volume of applications, coordination of numerous different steps in the process, and includes varying requirements, all before a candidate is selected for training. Because no system exists to help the Agency manage this process, Excel spreadsheets are used to track the completion of the various stages and the next steps required for each candidate. This has created large Excel documents that are sometimes filled with duplicate entries for the same candidate, missing information, and data errors. This may explain why some candidates may have experienced miscommunication from Recruiting, as staff is working with the best information available. The tracking of Candidates, Recruits, and Officer Trainees using Excel also prevents appropriate communication between the various stakeholders responsible for the different phases of the OIM. For example, some candidates who had already been appointed to BSO from a previous process were not removed from the inventory and were again pulled for assessment at the Recruitment phase. With an appropriate system, the status of Candidates in the process would be automatically updated for all stakeholders, thereby streamlining the process and increasing efficiency.

Interviewees agreed that enhancements should include a case management system, and further suggested a dedicated case worker, or an online mechanism for candidates to check the status of their applications. At the very least, implementing an appropriate information system could alleviate the burden on O&R staff, improve communication with the candidates regarding application status, reduce calls to the College, and possibly reduce the number of applicants ultimately seeking employment elsewhere.

New Developments

Finding 6: The Recruitment process model is currently being redesigned to include the development of new assessment tools and is due to launch in 2018. The new model is expected to improve the way in which candidates are assessed for acceptance into the training program.

Historically, three standard tools were used to screen applicants for the desired competencies at the Recruitment phase of the OIM: two standardized tests (the GCT2 and the WCPT),Footnote 39 used to assess cognitive ability and written communication; and an interview. In addition, a psychological assessment (the MMPI)Footnote 40 was used to determine eligibility for arming and a medical exam (the CATIII)Footnote 41 was utilized to measure overall health and physical well-being. Starting in 2016, candidates with university and college education were exempt from writing the two standardized tests in order to expedite the process and to align with the process used by other organizations. This meant that for at least one year of the OIM, the majority of candidates (about 75%) were assessed for the desired behavioural competencies as per the job poster through one assessment tool – the interview.Footnote 42

Enhancements initiated by the National Officer Recruitment Team are being introduced in 2018 to address some of the issues with the current model. For instance, the appropriateness of the two standardized tests used in the OIM were questioned by stakeholders at all levels who preferred a more CBSA-specific test like the Border Services Officer Test that was used in the POERT. The exemption for university and college graduates was also criticized by some stakeholders who did not agree with such an approach, as this resulted in candidates being scheduled for the interview before any preceding screening tools were applied. As such, the new recruitment model will introduce a new test, the Officer Trainee Entrance Exam (OTEE), which is expected to be a more appropriate tool to assess all candidates and narrow the pool of applicants who go on to the interview stage. The OTEE will assess four competencies previously evaluated by the GCT2 and the WCPT, plus additional competencies previously assessed through the interview. The OTEE will be administered online, which is expected to save time and resources by revising the way in which candidates are assessed and will also allow candidates to receive their results much faster. As stated in documentation provided by the program, "a cluster of 5,000 candidates that would normally require 3 to 12 months of work to be assessed in more traditional methods could be assessed within 1 to 2 weeks."Footnote 43 It will also save candidates from having to travel to be tested and will save the CBSA resources related to planning for and supervising the in-person exam. 

Other aspects of the redesigned Recruitment process will include:

According to documentation, the objectives of this redesigned model are to reduce the time it takes to process candidates, from the current average of 12 to 14 months to a desired 9 months. The process will also allow the Agency to pull candidates based on forecasted operational needs, while concurrently working to reduce the remaining inventory from the most recent selection process. Finally, the enhancements also include updating the Bona Fide Occupational Requirements to assess the actual fitness and physical requirements to become a BSO, and begin fast-tracking student BSOs.

As these changes to the recruitment process were not implemented at the time of the evaluation, they were not assessed to determine if they address some of the existing challenges at the Recruitment phase of the OIM. Monitoring of the new Recruitment model will be required in order to ensure that it is in fact producing better results for the Agency in terms of candidate experience and time taken to process candidates. The results from this evaluation should be used as a baseline to measure performance of the new model.

3.4. Workforce Planning and Placement of Officer Trainees in the Regions

Finding 7: Historically, the funded target of 288 graduating Recruits per year has been insufficient to meet past operational staffing needs.

As previously discussed, since its inception, the OIM has not consistently met the Agency’s established target of 288 graduating Recruits per year. However, even if the OIM had met the target every year, it would still not have produced enough officers to align with the ideal number of officers required in the regions. As of January 2017, Operations Branch determined that 6,158 BSOs were needed for optimal front-line operations.Footnote 45 After the placement of Officer Trainees from cohort 8B in January 2017, there were 5,154 officers (including FB-02 and FB-03s). This means that at that time, without considering any attrition or promotions, there was a gap of 1,004 officers based on current operational posture and tempo.

With upcoming operational projects and initiatives, a need for additional officers has been identified, which could further widen the existing gap. For example, HR Branch has identified seven upcoming critical projects that will require a total of 583 additional front-line staff over and above current operational needs, including the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB) project that is estimated to require up to an additional 276 BSOs. While an optimal staffing target must consider future strategic decisions resulting from the CBSA Renewal activities and changes in traveller volumes, the existing target of 288 graduating Recruits has not been adequate to alleviate present-day operational pressures.

Impacts of decreasing volume of officers

“Operations will be forced to rely on significant OT to meet minimum front-line service delivery objectives. This will increase demands on the existing workforce producing an environment where employees are overworked and exhausted propagating a vicious cycle of decreased staff leading to increased overtime and resulting increased sick leave. Without a continuous pool of recruits, excessive funding pressures prevent the CBSA from meeting its targeted budget reductions.” (Source: CBSA, Traveller Secondary Processing Review, 2016).

The total number of overtime (OT) hours worked by front-line staff could suggest there is a need for additional staff to relieve operational pressures or a different business model for processing travellers and their goods. Table 7 shows that between FYs 2012–2013 and 2016–2017, the total number OT hours completed by officers (both FB-02 and FB-03) has increased by 15.8%, while the number of officers has decreased by 6%. This would indicate that the OIM’s average output of 277 graduating Recruits per year is not sufficiently adding to the workforce to reduce the requirement for existing officers to work overtime. Considering other factors, such accommodated officers, long-term leave, and staff on training (e.g., arming and Controlled Defensive Tactics re-certifications), not having enough BSOs could result in a continued increase in OT.

Table 7: Amount of overtime hours worked by BSOs compared to the number of available BSOs from FY 2012–2013 to 2016–2017. This table shows an increase in OT hours and a decrease in the number of BSOs over the last five years, meaning that less front-line staff is working more overtime.

FY Total OT Hours # of BSOs
2012–2013 605,187 5,981
2013–2014 710,759 5,849
2014–2015 702,112 5,790
2015–2016 721,183 5,643
2016–2017 700,771 5,620
% change +15.8% -6.0%
Source: Demographics and Workforce Analysis, HRB, July 2017

According to the OIM Evaluation Staff Survey, 78% of regional management (Superintendents and Chiefs) feel that the OIM is not meeting operational needs in terms of volume of new BSOs. Respondents indicated that staffing shortages are affecting working conditions (e.g., increase in overtime, officer stress and vacation denials). There is also an impact on operations including longer processing times due to fluctuating volumes and insufficient staff. Furthermore, it is believed among those surveyed that the situation is only going to deteriorate in the future given the new projects and the high demand for BSOs.

The ongoing demand on front-line staff due to staff shortages, coupled with factors related to the BSO role (e.g., shift-work, occasional difficult interactions with travellers, etc.) may be creating an unpleasant work-life balance for BSOs. According to a study by Duxbury and Higgins (2012) on work-life balance of Canadian Policing agencies, increased prevalence of role overload (increased workload) has been “…found to be associated with higher levels of stress, depression, work absenteeism, intent to turnover, poorer physical and mental health, greater use of Canada’s health care system and higher health care costs.”Footnote 46 Therefore the increased workload for BSOs and the current operational business model may affect employee retention and future staffing.

Finding 8: The funded target for OITP graduates has not considered changes in attrition, promotions, and officers on duty to accommodate or leave without pay. Workforce planning for the number of Officer Trainees required by each region is based on availability of Recruits entering the College rather than actual need.

The base target number of OITP graduates has remained at 288 since the inception of the OIM and has not been revised to align with changes in attrition and the number of BSOs available for shift. Interviewees suggested that funding constraints have prevented them from revising the target. In contrast, both the RCMP and Correctional Services Canada appear to revisit their respective targets on a yearly basis.Footnote 47

Changes in the attrition rates at the CBSA suggest that the target number of graduating Recruits should have been revised. The Agency tracks BSO attrition in terms of total departures which includes retirements, deployments and voluntary departures from the CBSA. The average departure rate for BSOs from 2012 to 2017 was 3% (see Table 8).Footnote 48 The rate has been increasing since 2012, yet the funded target number for OITP graduates has remained at 288.

Table 8: BSO departure rates from 2012 to 2017 and appointed number of BSOs. This table shows the number of departures have been increasing while the number of appointed BSOs has fluctuated.

FY # of active indeterminate BSOs Total departuresFootnote 49 Departure rate # of appointed BSOsFootnote 50
2012–2013 5981 127 2.1% -
2013–2014 5849 245 4.2% -
2014–2015 5512 127 2.3% 144
2015–2016 5303 144 2.7% 350
2016–2017 5343 158 3.0% 272
Total - 801 - 766
Source: Demographics and Workforce Analysis, HRB, May 2017.

While it appears that the number of appointed BSOs are reducing the vacancies, the number of promotions to other FB positions has not been included in the total departures, so the vacancy rate may actually be increasing. From 2012–2013 to 2016–2017, there were a total of 801 departures and 766 appointed BSOs through the OIM, meaning that the program had a replacement rate of 96% (difference of 35 BSOs); however this does not include the number of BSOs who were promoted to FB-04 and FB-05 positions in the regions and elsewhere within the Agency. Since almost all of the FB-04 and FB-05 positions in the regions are filled by the existing pool of FB-03s, this would have a negative effect on the vacancy rates of the FB-03s. In addition, all other promotions to the FB-06 and FB-07 levels would also have a cascading effect on the FB-03 population, as those leaving their FB-05 position would have to be replaced by an existing FB-03. Data analysis shows that as of December 2017, there were approximately 2,295 positions in the regions and at the CBSA College that may be staffed using the existing pool of FB-03s.Footnote 51 Other CBSA Branches do not conduct external recruitment to fill these positions, and therefore, the downstream impact on staffing affects the BSO population but also other areas within the CBSA. For example, the Enforcement and Intelligence Operations Directorate that staffs positions using the existing pool of BSOs will also be unable to fill their positions in a timely manner.

Through the OIM Evaluation Staff Survey and interviews conducted in the field, regional management expressed the desire to include attrition rates, the number of promotions and transfers in front-line HR forecasting to reduce the compounding effect of BSO shortages. They explained that shortages are creating turnover in the regions, as those who remain have limited assignment and career development opportunities. Regional management wants to ensure that BSOs have access to professional development opportunities but they are constrained due to budget pressures and lack of resources to replace those officers. This is especially true during times when traveller volumes are high. Some have stated that they will not release an officer unless it is for a promotion or a seat exchange (FB-03 for an FB-03).

The established target of 288 graduating Recruits also does not take into consideration the attrition rate of Officer Trainees during the OIDP. While 1,110 Recruits graduated the College over the last five years, only 1,030 completed the OIDP. This represent an attrition rate of 3.4% between the OITP and the OIDP. Establishing a target for the number of BSOs appointed per year would be more indicative of the outputs required of the program.

With regard to placing the right number of officers in the regions where they are needed, there are also some planning and forecasting challenges. Historically, the number of Officer Trainees requested by Operations Branch has been based on the number of Recruits available at the College at the beginning of a cohort, rather than the actual number needed in the regions. As can be seen in Table 9, between cohorts 4 and 8B, Operations Branch requested 797 Officer Trainees to be placed across the country and 759 were placed. This shows that the Agency has not been able to deliver the planned number of Officer Trainees required in each region even when the planned number was below what would have been operationally required.

Table 9: Officer Trainees planned versus placed in each region (cohorts 4 to 8B). Footnote 52 The table below shows a deficit of 38 officers nationally in just over four years.

Region Planned Placed Difference
ATL 47 44 -3
GTA 149 147 -2
NOR 25 23 -2
PAC 201 189 -12
PRA 113 106 -7
QUE 141 132 -9
SOR 121 118 -3
Total 797 759 -38
Source: Commercial Operations, Operations Branch, December 2017.

Finding 9: Although the intent of the OIM is to permanently place Officer Trainees at POEs that had identified a need for additional officers, the Duty Placement Process (DPP) models used in the past five years have resulted in Officer Trainees only temporarily remaining in their assigned location. The continued prevalence of requests for transfers could indicate that the ideal placement model has not been found.

The distribution of Officer Trainees placed by region over the last five years is illustrated in Figure 4, which includes placements for cohorts 1 to 8B only since the remaining cohorts had not been placed at the time of this evaluation. The list of available placement locations for each cohort is decided by regional management who identify needs before a final list is provided by Operations Branch to the HR Branch who is responsible for administering the placement process of Officer Trainees. The list of available locations identified by Operations Branch has varied significantly from one cohort to the next.

Figure 4: Regional distribution of the 1,109 Officer Trainees placed from cohorts 1 to 8B. This graph demonstrates that the Pacific and the GTA regions have been the largest recipients of Officer Trainees.

Source: OID Program, HRB, September 2017.

Since the inception of the OIM, the Agency has used three different models to place Officer Trainees in the region. These three models are described in detail in Appendix C – Program Profile. While there have been changes to the DPP over the lifespan of the OIM, the placement needs of the Agency and the preferred placement location of the recruits are still not aligned. With the most recent DPP, Recruits’ regional preference is considered, but results from the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey suggests that there is still a high-level of dissatisfaction with the DPP. Although respondents indicated a 63% overall satisfaction rate with the location of their placement, 48% indicated they were dissatisfied with the placement process itself. Evidence gathered in group interviews of Officer Trainees and BSOs found that participants experienced frustration with the placement process that was regarded by some as unfair, illogical or inconsiderate of personal circumstances of Recruits. For instance, while some cohorts received a list of highly sought-after locations, other cohorts placed only a few weeks later received a list with a high number of small and remote locations.Footnote 53 This has resulted in some Recruits being satisfied with their placement location, while others completely dissatisfied. Evidence collected through the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey, as well as through interviews suggested that those dissatisfied with their placement have experienced significant negative personal impacts and expressed a desire to apply for a transfer immediately after their appointment to FB-03.

The volume of requests for transfer after initial placement could also indicate a need to further streamline the DPP, but more data is needed to draw conclusions on the extent to which this trend is having an effect on the Agency. Interviewees suggested that a high volume of transfer requests are a result of Officer Trainees and BSOs being unhappy with their initial placement location. The evaluation sought data to confirm this perception, but data provided by regional HR on employee requested deployments was incomplete and therefore analysis on the overall impact of the placement process at the national level could not be completed.

Case Study: Transfer Requests in the Prairie Region

Between Cohorts 1 and 9C, 201 Officer Trainees were placed in the Prairie Region. Upon appointment, 100 BSOs submitted internal transfer requests, of which 55 were approved. This means that in the last 5 years, 27% of the BSOs placed in Prairie Region have left their POE.

The Prairie Region was the only region which kept complete and accurate historical data on the number of requests and approved transfers since cohort 1 and can be used as an illustration on the potential impact of the current placement model. The data shows that the DPP has only temporarily met the operational needs of the Prairie Region, as 27% of the Officer Trainees placed there since cohort 1 have already transferred out of the region or are in the process of doing so. The Prairie region risks losing another 22% of officers, as another 45 individuals have submitted requests to transfer.

Interviewees suggested that transfers are further eroding the availability of resources in the regions. For some regions with a high volume of transfers, it is also eroding the knowledge base. A high turnover of employees means that the POEs are in a constant state of training and mentoring new Officer Trainees. The risks of not granting the transfers could result in BSOs leaving the CBSA all together or going on leave without pay. Furthermore, transfers may have a significant financial impact on the Agency, both in resources required to process transfers and the cost of moving officers a second time (for employee-requested moves, BSOs are entitled up to $5,000 for relocation costs).Footnote 54 In addition, transfers may result in additional overtime due to BSO shortages.

The current placement model may eventually negatively affect the Limited Duration Postings (LDP) that have been put in place to alleviate resource gaps in small and remote locations. These three-year postings to small and remote locationsFootnote 55 were created by Operations Branch (in consultation with HR Branch) to provide incentive for recruits to select them, by allowing recruits to select their location of choice at the end of the LDP, assuming there is an available position. However, given trainees placed in POEs not considered LDPs have been able to transfer to other POEs after completing only one year of their initial placement, the extent to which the LDP is able to attract a sufficient number of volunteers remains to be seen. The number and long-term viability of the LDPs will need to be monitored, as there could be long-term consequences on the future placement of BSOs and Officer Trainees who may all be competing to be placed in their location of choice once the LDP is completed.

The OIM was designed to address the Agency’s goal of producing a fully mobile workforce, but the mobility clause has not been enacted after the initial placement of Officer Trainees during the OIDP. BSOs are not required to be redeployed, and voluntary short-term assignments have been used in response to surge capacity requirements (e.g., refugee processing in Lacolle in the summer of 2017).

3.5. OITP and OIDP - Effectiveness of Training Delivery

Finding 10:The OITP is well-regarded and delivering training as currently designed; however some training gaps have been identified and the graduating Recruits are not considered ‘job-ready’ when they are placed in the field.

About 70% of respondents to the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey were satisfied with the overall quality and quantity of training they received at the College. Most respondents (71%) agreed that the training provided them with the foundational knowledge they needed to perform their duties. This was further supported by Operational staff who indicated during interviews that Recruits graduating from the OITP are professional, disciplined and focused on following policy and procedure. The OIM Evaluation Staff Survey found that 68% feel that the OITP provided Recruits with the foundational knowledge needed to perform their duties, but 75% of respondents also indicated that the curriculum could be enhanced to better prepare Recruits for the OIDP. Operational staff and the Officer Trainees identified areas for enhancement in the OITP (Table 10).

Table 10: Identified areas for enhancement to the OITP curriculum. This table describes the five most common training gaps identified by operational stakeholders.

Areas Notes
Vehicle examinations Considered essential for those working at land borders, it was not part of the curriculum in the past five years but has been added to the curriculum for 2018.
Systems training (e.g., GCMS, ICES) Stakeholders felt that Officer Trainees should start the OIDP with a general understanding of and exposure to the main systems.Footnote 56 Although the curriculum introduces the required systems, there have been sporadic connectivity issues reported at the College for some classes which have prevented equal access to systems training for all Recruits.
Interviewing techniques Stakeholders agreed that being able to ask the right questions and using appropriate techniques is essential to the job. While some interviewing techniques are taught at the College (approximately 15 hours of content), operational stakeholders suggested that it is not sufficient to meet their needs. Interviewees and survey respondents expressed a desire for more opportunities to practice and receive feedback.
Practical application Staff felt that training at the College focuses too strongly on knowledge and memorization and not enough on hands-on application.Footnote 57 Although the OITP currently includes multiple days of practical application, both staff and Recruits perceived this to be insufficient to demonstrate learned skills from the beginning to the end of the process. Interviewees and survey respondents expressed a desire for more opportunities to practice and receive feedback.
Mode-specific skills Officer Trainees and recently appointed BSOs working in land-mode felt that the training was too focused on air-mode and vice versa for those working in air-mode. Both felt that the training was inadequate to sufficiently prepare them for the mode they were placed in. There could be opportunities to tailor training by offering mode-specific modules once Recruits have received their placements.
Source: OIM Evaluation Interviewees and Survey Respondents, 2017.

Regional staff suggested that graduating Officer Trainees placed in their region require extensive additional training in order to perform at an adequate level during the OIDP. As stated in the Officer Curriculum Consultative Committee (OCCC) Terms of Reference, the OITP is expected to ensure that BSOs are ‘job-ready’ for their first day at the POE.Footnote 58 This expectation may need to be adjusted given the amount of learning that is required to be fully operational and the short amount of time available at the College. According to the Strategic Direction and Development Directorate, the OIDP was not intended to provide training to Officer Trainees but rather the opportunity to foster and mature skills learned during the OITP. However, regional staff have had to approve the delivery of additional training to fill gaps in order to ensure Officer Trainees are able to adequately perform their duties.

Historically, efforts to improve the College curriculum have not been based on regular feedback from all stakeholders nor is the overall training approach developed with a common understanding of what can realistically be taught at the College. Although the OCCC now exists to review the curriculum delivered at the College and is seen as a positive initiative, at the time of this evaluation, the committee had only met three times in the last five years. Additionally, only four out of seven regions are represented in the committee membership. There has also been a missed opportunity to survey recently appointed FB-03s to assess the relevance and adequacy of the training received at the College, as the evaluation found no evidence of course evaluations being conducted to inform changes or improvements to the curriculum.

Finding 11: Staff at the POEs are providing additional training considered to be essential to the Officer Trainees to supplement the OITP training. The combination of training delivered in the OITP and the OIDP has ensured that officers appointed through the OIM are ultimately well-trained to meet operational needs. Training provided at the POEs is inconsistent among POEs and across modes.

As demonstrated in Table 11, the overall promotion rate from Officer Trainees to BSOs (FB-03) at the 12-month mark is 82%. The high success rate in the OIDP indicates that the majority of the Officer Trainees are receiving the right training by the end of the OIDP to meet or exceed operational performance expectations for appointment. For those ultimately appointed to the BSO position, the additional training received in the regions is helping to ensure their success in OIM.

Table 11: Volume of Officer Trainees promoted at 12, 15 and 18 months. This table shows that most of the Officer Trainees (82%) are appointed at the 12-month mark of the OIDP and that less than 5% are unsuccessful.

FYFootnote 59 Started OIDP Withdrew / Resigned before 12 months Promoted Withdrew / Resigned after 12 months Still in OIDP
12 months 15 months 18 months
2013–2014 194 2 141 34 8 7 2
2014–2015 339 16 291 24 5 4 1
2015–2016 284 2 235 34 6 4 3
2016–2017 289 10 243 24 0 0 14
TotalFootnote 60 1106 30 910 116 19 15 20
% - 2.7% 82.3% 10.5% 1.7% 1.4% 1.8%
Source: OID Program, HRB, February 2018.

During the OIDP, Officer Trainees are expected to operationalize the training received during the OITP and further develop their competencies. Officer Trainees complete POE-specific training, job shadowing and receive coaching/mentoring from POE staff. However, since there is no expectation that essential training should be delivered during the OIDP, no training standards have been developed, and as result, Officer Trainees are receiving different levels/types of training depending on the availability of resources at their POE.Footnote 61 For example, in Southern Ontario region, Officer Trainees often waited months for vehicle examination training (considered essential for those placed in land border crossings), while in the Pacific region the same training is included as part of their onboarding process. Additionally, interviewees pointed out that POEs are not funded to provide training during the OIDP and do the best they can to address these training gaps. So while smaller POEs were providing 2 to 3 days of training, larger, more resourced POEs were providing 3 to 4 weeks. Although POEs have differing local procedures and exercise a certain level of discretion to meet their operational needs, there are no national guidelines and procedures that all Officer Trainees must be taught in a consistent manner.

Survey results also suggest that the OIDP phase of the OIM requires further refinement to ensure consistency. When OIM participants were asked to provide comments regarding their dissatisfaction with any aspect of the OIM or to provide any other additional comments, improvement to the OIDP was the most frequently cited suggestion, with 49.4% of responses (n=409) suggesting that some aspects of the OIDP need to be changed.Footnote 62 When asked if they had experienced barriers and/or obstacles that may have impacted their ability to successfully complete the OIM, 26% of OIM participants said that they had, and 64% of those stated that the challenges were experienced during the OIDP phase.Footnote 63 Respondents specifically referred to poor or altogether absent training structures and inconsistency in mentorship or coaching provided as compared to what is offered at other POEs. Other challenges cited by survey respondents included: lack of regular feedback outside the Trainee Performance Questionnaire (TPQs), lack of reference material, the OIDP timelines, challenges with the assessment tools, and constant turnover of Field Coaches.Footnote 64 Interviewees explained that, since there are often no dedicated Field Coaches from whom to seek guidance, Officer Trainees have sometimes received conflicting responses to inquiries. Field Coaches are often voluntary positions and can be somewhat difficult to fill as there is little incentive for experienced officers to take on additional work.Footnote 65

3.6. OIDP - Assessing Eligibility for Appointment to BSO

Finding 12: The various tools used in the OIDP to evaluate Officer Trainees have resulted in inconsistent and/or contradictory opinions about the Officer Trainees’ readiness for appointment.

As illustrated in Table 12, there are several tools and requirements completed by different program staff at different times to assess Officer Trainees during the OIDP.

Table 12: Tools and requirements that must be completed during OIDP prior to appointment to FB-03. This table shows when each tool or requirement must be completed and by whom.

Tool Completed by Timeframe of completion
Trainee Performance Questionnaire (TPQ)Footnote 66 Superintendents At 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months
Superintendent Readiness Report Superintendents Between the 11th and 12th month
Chief Recommendation for Appointment Chiefs Between the 11th and 12th month
Competency Demonstration Report (CDR) Officer Trainees Between the 11th and 12th month
Duty Firearm Recertification, First Aid and Second Language Evaluation Officer Trainees Prior to the 12th month
Enhanced Development Plans (if required)Footnote 67 Superintendents At any time, but usually between the 6th and 9th month
Merit Review Board HR and OperationsFootnote 68 At the 12th month
Source: CBSA internal document

The TPQs are the primary tools used by POE Management to assess the Officer Trainees’ performance throughout the OIDP and to identify areas that require improvement as well as those that are meeting expectations. There are 43 criteria, divided into five categories that are assessed on a quarterly basis.Footnote 69 Meanwhile, the CDR is the primary tool used by the Merit Review Board (MRB) to determine if the Officer Trainee meets the required competenciesFootnote 70 for appointment to an FB-03.

There were some challenges identified with the use of the CDR as an appropriate assessment tool to determine the Officer Trainee’s eligibility for appointment to an FB-03. The CDR requires Officer Trainees to provide written examples to demonstrate how they meet the eight competencies. Although Officer Trainees are required to include a validatorFootnote 71 for each example, this evaluation could not find any evidence to suggest that the validators were contacted. The CDRs are submitted without attestation from Superintendents or mentors, as staff at the POE have been directed by HR not to validate the competency level of the example provided by the Officer Trainees in their CDRs, as the CDR is part of a staffing process and the Officer trainees are ultimately responsible for their submissions. This means that determining the achievement of competencies is completely reliant on the Officer Trainee’s self-assessment and their ability to provide an adequate written example and not the accuracy of the actions taken. This may call into the question the reliability of the tool.

Some HR staff, Superintendents Chiefs, BSOs and Officer Trainees specifically questioned the value and weight placed on the CDR to determine the Officer Trainee’s readiness for appointment. Respondents from interviews and the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey indicated that the CDR could be a good tool to assess writing skills but not appropriate to assess the overall ability of the Officer Trainee. Many of these respondents felt that Officer Trainees should be appointed based on the judgement of their Superintendent or immediate supervisor, rather than by the MRB who rely on non-validated examples provided by the Officer Trainees themselves. While Officer Trainees now receive a minimum of two information sessions on the OIDP, including an explanation of the expected competencies and guidance on completing the CDRs, staff, BSOs and Officer Trainees interviewed in regions unanimously agreed that elements of the OIDP assessment process are both labour-intensive and anxiety-inducing with potentially limited value for the assessment of Officer Trainees.

Although Superintendents are also required to make their own assessment on the Officer Trainees’ readiness for appointment at 12 months by completing the quarterly TPQs and the Superintendent Readiness Report, the evaluation found that in some cases, the decision of the MRB to extend an Officer Trainee was contradictory to the Superintendent’s assessment. For example, analysis of a sample of TPQs (n=75) showed that 97% of Officer Trainees were assessed by their Superintendents as meeting or exceeding expected performance indicators by TPQ 4, yet only 82% of all Officer Trainees were promoted at 12 months. There appears to be disconnect between the Superintendent’s assessment of performance and the decision of the MRB on the readiness for the Officer Trainee to be appointed, especially since some of the task-based behavioural categories in the TPQ overlap with the competencies assessed in the CDR. For example, the task-based behaviours in the TPQ under the categories of Client Service and Program and Service Delivery coincides with the Client Service Orientation competency in the CDR. The same is true between task-based behaviours in the category of Enforcement Related Activities in the TPQ and competencies such as Judgement, Analytical Thinking and Information-Seeking Techniques.

An analysis was also conducted on the CDRs of 131 Officers Trainees who were extended past the standard 12 months in the OIDP, either because they did not demonstrate the required competencies at the appropriate level and/or they did not meet the conditions of employment (i.e. firearm recertification, First aid or SLE).Footnote 72 Of the 131 Officer Trainees who were extended, most (83%) had been assessed by their Superintendent as meeting or exceeding the categories in the TPQs. As demonstrated in Figure 5, Judgement was the most frequent competency noted as having not been met (64 occurrences or 21%). Analytical thinking and Effective Interactive Communication were the second and third most frequent, with 17% and 16%, respectively.

Figure 5: Frequency of unmet CDR competencies for extended Officer Trainees. This graph shows that the most frequent failed competency in the CDR was Judgement.

Source: OID Program, HRB, January 2018.

The overall OIM assessment process for determining if Officer Trainees have demonstrated the required behavioural and technical competencies for appointment to FB-03 is included in Appendix E – OIM Assessment Continuum. The analysis of this processsuggests that there is a need to include assessments at earlier phases of OIM and to reduce the reliance on the CDR as the primary tool for assessing competencies prior to appointment to the FB-03. For instance, Conscientiousness and Reliability is a required competency that is not assessed at the Application and Selection phase nor at the OITP phases, but rather, assessed through the CDR only after the individual has spent almost a year and a half in training and development. Dealing with Difficult Situations, Decisiveness, Personal Integrity, and Values and Ethics are competencies assessed at the Application and Selection phase, but not assessed again in later phases of OIM. These competencies could be reassessed during OITP, or through the development of additional tools in OIDP to ensure that the right individuals are appointed to the BSO position.

3.7. Post-OIM – BSO Performance

Finding 13: In general, appointed BSOs from the OIM are meeting or achieving Agency performance standards and positively contributing to the Agency mandate.

The Performance Management Agreement (PMA) ratings for recently appointed BSOs indicate that the majority of BSOs trained through the OIM are meeting performance standards. In FY 2015–2016 and 2016–2017, an average of 96.5% of newly trained BSOs were meeting or exceeding their objectives over the two years (see Table 13). This suggests that BSOs trained through the OIM are able perform the duties of a BSO to the level that is expected. This rate is also comparable to all other BSOs who were trained and appointed through the POERT or other legacy training programs.

Table 13: Comparison of PMA ratings – newly trained BSOs versus all other BSOs. This table shows the majority of BSOs trained through the OIM are meeting performance objectives and the rate is similar to BSOs trained through other programs.

FY BSOs appointed through the OIM All other BSOs
2015–2016 95% 97%
2016–2017 98% 98%
Average over 2 years 96.5% 97.5%
Source: Demographics and Workforce Analysis, HRB, October 2017.

The OIM Evaluation Staff Survey results also indicate that the majority (70%) of Superintendents and Chiefs were satisfied with the performance of BSOs trained through the OIM. This was further corroborated by frontline staff who stated they are pleased with the performance of newly-appointed BSOs. They commented that BSOs trained through the OIM have a strong knowledge base and are more adapted to learning based on changing technology. Compared to those hired through the POERT model, frontline staff felt BSOs were better served by the OIM as they were better prepared to fulfil their duties. 

As an indicator to illustrate the extent to which BSOs are contributing to the Agency’s mandate, seizure rates for enforcement actions by BSOs were examined. As illustrated in Table 14, the number of the seizures has increased slightly since 2012–2013 (increase of 1.3%). This could suggest that over the last five years, Officer Trainees and BSOs appointed through the OIM have positively contributed to the interception of inadmissible goods.

Table 14: Number of enforcement actions (traveller only) by fiscal year. This table shows that since OIM Officer Trainees started their placements in the region, the number of enforcement actions has increased slightly.

FY Number of Enforcement Actions % Change Since 2012–2013
2012–2013 8636 -
2013–2014 8604 -0.4%
2014–2015 8642 0.4%
2015–2016 9385 7.9%
2016–2017 8758 1.3%
Source: Performance Reporting Unit, current as of December 2017.

Finally, the number of traveller appeals resulting from enforcement actions and the rate at which decisions are upheld could also indicate that Officer Trainees and new BSOs trained through the OIM are positively contributing to the Agency’s mandate. As can be seen in Table 15, there has been an increase in the rate of upheld decisions and a decrease in the rate of amended and overturned decisions which could suggest that BSOs graduating from the OIM are correctly interpreting legislation and implementing proper procedures. This may be the result of learning the correct policies, procedures, and legislation while at the College and in the OIDP. Again, while attribution is difficult to determine, contribution can be presumed.

Table 15: Rate of upheld, amended, and overturned decisions pre- and post-OIM placements. This table shows that there has been an increase in upheld decisions and a decrease in amended overturned decisions since the OIM.

  Upheld Amended Overturned
Average Pre-OIM (2012–2013 to 2013–2014) 58% 22% 19%
Average Post-OIM (2014–2015 to 2016–2017) 62% 20% 17%
Source: Recourse Directorate, Corporate Affairs Branch, 2017.

3.8. Gender-Based Analysis+ (GBA+) - Barriers Experienced in OIM

Finding 14: There may be barriers in the OIM that have affected female applicants, candidates and Recruits. Based on the analysis conducted by the evaluation, no significant barriers could be identified which specifically affected the experience of males, gender-diverse people, those of different backgrounds, or those with different language profiles throughout the recruiting, selection, and training processes.  

Potential barriers for females at the O&R and the OITP phases of the OIM have been identified. At the O&R phase, females represent approximately 44% of all applicants to the OIM,Footnote 73 but only 23% of female applicants are invited to the CBSA College. It is unclear if an obstacle exists in the Application and Selection Process that is having an impact on the number of females being invited into the program or if the lack of gender-based data is resulting in an inaccurate perception of the gender-split at this phase.

The gender-equal Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) test used by the CBSA to assess physical ability could have unintentionally and unnecessarily limited the number of females who were eligible to apply for the BSO position. According to a Gender-Based Assessment conducted by the RCMP, females are passing the PARE at a rate of 84% compared to a success rate of 98% for males.Footnote 74 Another analysis commissioned by the RCMP revealed that the time differences for the PARE were statistically significant, with female members garnering a finishing time of 4:19, while male members completed it in 3:43.Footnote 75 College staff suggested that female Recruits experienced challenges with the push and pull portion of the PARE. A 2016 study conducted by the DND for the CBSA suggested that while some of the abilities evaluated in the PARE may be related, there is no evidence to directly link the demands of the PARE to the demands of the OITP.Footnote 76 Since the physical requirements are not yet understood and there is no requirement to maintain the physical standard during any other phase of the OIM or any time after the officer is appointed to the BSO position, this requirement may have unnecessarily affected females. Stakeholders suggested that the PARE was chosen as the tool to assess physical ability, in the absence of another solution and since this was the tool used by the RCMP. Current efforts are underway to conduct a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement evaluation to assess the fitness/physical requirements of the BSO position and ultimately select a more appropriate tool specific to the CBSA.

At the OITP phase, female Recruits experienced challenges with the Use of Force component of the College curriculum at a higher rate than males. Analysis of all unsuccessful and withdrawn Recruits at the College over the last five years showed that Use of Force is cited as a reason for failure in the OITP 27% of the time (see Figure 6), where females were unsuccessful at a significantly higher proportion (47.4%) than their representation in the overall population during the OITP (24.3%).

Figure 6: Reasons for non-success during the OITP and gender breakdown of non-success in the Use of Force component. This chart shows that females are having a more challenging experience within the Use of Force portion of the OITP than their male counterparts.

Source: CBSA College, HRB, October 2017.

The analysis of individuals who withdraw from the OITP or the OIDP also shows that females withdraw from the OIM at a higher rate than males relative to their representation in the general the OITP and the OIDP populations (see Figure 7). There could be specific barriers for females in the OIM but the reasons for their withdrawal is unknown.

Figure 7: Percentage of those withdrawing during the OITP and the OIDP. The graph below shows that females withdraw from the OITP and the OIDP at a higher rate than males.

Source: CBSA, National Officer Recruitment Program, HRB, August 2017; CBSA College, HRB, October 2017.

As for the remainder of demographic groups, the evaluation could not find evidence of any significant barriers that impacted these groups more than others (partly because of the limitations of the data available). Since 2013, there have only been four complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal from over 35,000 applications assessed. Given the relatively small number of reported complaints, this suggests that the majority of OIM participants have not reported discrimination. Analysis of unsuccessful Trainees during the OIDP revealed no considerable differences between genders or linguistic profiles.

GBA+ was not regularly conducted to plan activities or set targets related to the various phases of the OIM.Footnote 77 This lack of GBA+ limits the initiatives that can be put in place to reduce barriers for females or anyone else that could be experiencing barriers that are unknown to the Agency. However, the Agency has implemented some general measures to deal with the variety of stresses the Recruits and their families will encounter during the OITP and the OIDP. For instance, the Employee Assistance Program is extended to Recruits and their spouses while they attend the CBSA College and beyond. Another example is the existence of a specific resource available on-site to candidates from the LBGTQ+ community. Inclusivity and diversity lectures are also given at the beginning of the training at the College.

4. Findings - Efficiency

4.1. OIM Costing

As part of the development of a new Program Inventory,Footnote 78 the costs of the OIM are currently being finalized by Comptrollership Branch and HRB. HRB has completed a detailed costing/planning template which covers all the OIM related activities. This template supports the Comptrollership Branch’s accurate costing of the OIM.

The total annual expenditures for the OIM for FY 2016–2017 was approximately $40 million, including fixed and variable costs. The financial data was generated from the Corporate Administrative System (CAS) and included all three phases of the OIM and Officer Trainees’ salary costs while posted to one of the CBSA's ports of entry across Canada for the OIDP. Comptrollership Branch is currently working to identify areas for efficiency opportunities and will further engage HRB to determine what changes could be implemented.

In FY 2016–2017, the cost per BSO appointment was $151,781, as per Table 16. This includes all the resources for outreach, recruitment, screening, selecting, training and developing a BSO over a 2 to 3 year period (including the fixed costs of the CBSA College). Although the cost per appointment appears to be high, approximately 44% of this cost is associated with paying the FB-02 salaries of Officer Trainees while they are completing the OIDP.Footnote 79

Table 16: Cost per BSO appointment for FY 2016–2017. This table provides the cost per BSO appointment for one fiscal year based on the expenditures generated from CAS.

Actual Costs $40,373,860
Actual BSO Appointments 266
Actual Cost/BSO Appointment  $151,781
Source: Financial data provided by Comptrollership Branch, March 2018. Analysis by the Program Evaluation Division (PED).

Using the assumption that the costs of the OIM have remained relatively stable over the past three years, the estimated costs per output at each phase of the OIM were calculated. In Table 17, costs for FY 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 were extrapolated and estimated using the FY 2016–2017 expenditures.Footnote 80 The cost per output was calculated using the actual total outputs for each phase for two years, FY 2014–2015 and 2015–2016.Footnote 81

Table 17: Estimated costs per output at each phase of the OIM. This table provides the approximate cost per output at each phase of the OIM based on FY 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 total outputs and estimated expenditures.

  Outreach Recruitment OITP OIDP
Expenditures Over Two Years  $2,841,114  $8,080,190  $31,164,280  $38,662,136
Outputs Over Two Years 33,683
Applications Received
14,359
Applications Assessed
625
Graduated Recruits
595
BSOs Appointed
Estimated Cost per Output  $84 per
Application Received
 $563 per
Application Assessed
 $49,863 per
Graduated Recruit
$ 64,978 per
Appointed BSO
Source: Data provided by Comptrollership Branch, March 2018. Analysis by the PED.

Without significantly changing the number of weeks at the College or the length of the OIDP, the costs of the OITP and the OIDP are relatively stable in comparison to the O&R phase. Given costs attributed to Recruitment are directly linked to the number of candidates, changes to this phase could generate the most immediate efficiencies, both in a reduction of costs and in terms of shortening the overall length of time of the OIM. For example, if the proposed changes to Recruitment result in lowering the number of candidates to be tested and interviewed, overall OIM costs could be reduced.

4.2. Process Efficiency

Finding 15: Based on the selection process used in the past 5 years, a high volume of candidates required screening in order to produce the desired output of 288 graduating Recruits. Out of 30,455 applications screened by the CBSA, only 4.4% were accepted into the training program and only 3.4% were ultimately appointed as BSOs, meaning that the program invested significant resources to produce the required outputs.

Since the beginning of the OIM 81,755 applications were submitted to the Public Service Commission (see Figure 8). Footnote 82 Of those, about 93% were eligible applicationsFootnote 83 and 40% were pulled and screened to assess suitability for the training program. After all applicants were screened through the Application and Selection process, only 4.4% were invited to the online portion of the OITP and only 4% completed it and were subsequently invited to attend the CBSA College. As illustrated in Figure 8, not all 1,210 Recruits that attended the College graduated, as the program loses approximately 0.4% of Recruits to attrition, including voluntary departures. The ultimate output from cohorts 1 to 8B, was about 3.4% of eligible applicants appointed to the BSO position.Footnote 84 The ratio of candidates screened to eventual appointment to BSO is 30:1. This means that the Agency screened 30 candidates to appoint one BSO. In comparison, the RCMP screens half the number of candidates to appoint twice the number of cadets. For instance, from 2012–2013 to 2014–2015, the RCMP received an average of 7,912 applications per year to enroll about 881 cadets per year.Footnote 85

Figure 8: Number of individuals from cohorts 1 to 8B at each phase of the OIM, from application to appointment to BSO. This diagram shows that the Agency must screen a high volume of applicants to appoint the desired number of BSOs.

Source: PSC data, October 2017; National Officer Recruitment Program, HRB, August 2017; CBSA College, HRB, October 2017; CBSA, Workforce and Demographic Analysis, HRB, December 2017.

Finding 16: It is taking too long to appoint BSOs through the OIM. The average current length of the OIM program from Recruitment to appointment to FB-03 is between 30-36 months. This timeframe appears to be longer than other comparative law enforcement agencies.

While Officer Trainees are considered employees of the CBSA while in OIDP and are contributing to front-line work, their employment is conditional upon successful completion of all phases of OIM, including OIDP. Therefore, the length of time to appoint to the FB-03 level was used to calculate the length of the CBSA’s training program.

As illustrated in Figure 9, it has taken on average between 2.5 and 3 years to appoint a candidate to an FB-03 position through the OIM. This timeframe does not include the time candidates spent in the inventory before their application was pulled for processing. The shortest amount of time spent in the OIM was about 805 days or 2.2 years, while the longest was 1,083 days or three years (n=1,347). For those whose OIDP placement was extended to 15 or 18 months, the process took an average of 3.5 years from candidates’ application being pulled to appointment. The average total length of the OIM program has been increasing since cohort 6C. This can be attributed to the length of time spent in the Application and Selection phase, since both the OITP and the OIDP timelines are fixed and have remained unchanged for the past five years. About 51% of respondents to the OIM Evaluation Staff Survey feel the time taken to fully train and develop new BSOs is not appropriate.

Figure 9: Average number of days BSOs spent in the OIM program (from application pulled from the inventory to appointment to FB-03, for cohorts 1 to 8B). This table shows that those selected and trained through the OIM spent between 2.5 and 3 years in the process before being appointed to FB-03, with the average length increasing steadily since cohort 6.

Source: National Officer Recruitment Program, HRB, August 2017; CBSA College, HRB, October 2017.

Although the total length of time spent by other comparable organizations to screen and appoint a candidate is unknown, a comparison of the training portions of the programs was completed. As illustrated in Figure 10, the CBSA’s training program is the longest among the comparators when the OIDP is included. Those applying to the CBSA spend approximately six months longer in training than those who apply to the RCMP and over 13 additional months compared to those who applied to the OPP.

Figure 10: Comparison of the length of the training and development phases of the OIM with the training and development phases of other organizations’ programs.Footnote 86This figure shows that the CBSA’s training and development program is the longest among the comparators.

Source: Publicly available information as posted on each organization’s web page, accessed February 2018.

Finding 17: The two longest phases of the OIM are Recruitment (Application and Selection) and the OIDP. Within Recruitment, the interview is the longest portion of the screening process within the control of the Agency. There is an opportunity to review all phases of the OIM for efficiency, most notably the interview process used in the O&R phase and the OIDP.

Data analysis indicates that the Application and Selection process is currently the longest phase of the OIM program. It took between 12 to 14 months to process a candidate from the time the application was pulled from the inventory for assessment to the time the candidate was invited to the on-line portion of the OITP. As illustrated in Table 18, within the Application and Selection process, the longest step was the interview which took an average of 122 days (or four months) to complete, even when the timeframe is almost entirely within the control of the Agency.Footnote 87 The security screening process is also lengthy and cited by interviewees as a step that can hinder the ability of Recruitment to invite candidates to the online phase of the OITP in a timely manner. This step is dependent on other federal organizations, and therefore, the Agency is limited on the changes it can implement to make it more efficient. Therefore the opportunity for improvement lies within the interview portion of the Application and Selection phase, as the majority of this process is within the control of the Agency.

Table 18: Average, maximum, and minimum lengths for each step of the Application and Selection process of the OIM. This table shows (in days) that the longest step in the Application and Selection process is the interview.

DATA GCT2 WCPT Interview MMPI CATIII Security Total
Average 63 72 122 40 45 97 433
Max 357 417 487 218 290 344 717
MIN 16 16 22 0 3 11 286
Source: National Officer Recruitment Program, HRB, August 2017; CBSA College, HRB, October 2017.

There may also be an opportunity to shorten the total length of the OIM by shortening the length of the OIDP. The OIDP was originally designed to align with the 12-month probationary period of the Government of Canada. However, the probationary period could be extended beyond the OIDP and can be completed when the Officer Trainee is appointed to BSO. In the POERT model candidates were hired and placed in FB-03 positions immediately and completed their probationary period while already appointed BSOs.

The OIDP may be unnecessarily too long, particularly because in POEs with high traveller volumes, Officer Trainees can gain experience and demonstrate competencies in a shorter period of time. Information gathered by interviews conducted in GTA, SOR and PAC regions indicate that Officer Trainees are being allowed to work with minimal supervision within 2 to 3 months of arriving for their OIDP placement. Staff at the POEs are comfortable allowing the majority of Officer Trainees to work independently by six months. An analysis of TPQs confirms this perception, as 84% of Officer Trainees in the sample (n=75) were meeting or exceeding all performance criteria within the first six months in the OIDP. Interviewees pointed out that while the next six months can be used to further solidify the Officer Trainee’s knowledge, it is unrealistic to expect that they will know everything they need to know in one year, therefore the timelines are arbitrary. They explained that even experienced BSOs can expect to learn something new every day.

For Consideration: a strategy to enable communication of behavioural challenges

Interviewees suggested that there may be a need to develop an assessment strategy to enable improved communication with operational staff regarding behavioural challenges exhibited during training at the CBSA College (prior to regional placement). Although the CBSA College has implemented various mechanisms to address Recruit behavior challenges (e.g. ‘Nine-week Review’, collaboration with PSI, Intervention forms, etc.), the information gathered from these mechanisms has not been historically shared with Operations because it is not part of the formal assessment strategy. Such information may assist the regions in developing an Enhanced Development Plan for Officer Trainees and could also allow the Agency to release potentially high-risk Recruits from OITP before they become indeterminate employees.

The length of the OIDP should be reconsidered based on an analysis of the pros and cons of extending the eligibility for appointment to BSO. Those in favour of keeping the status quo suggested that 12 months is needed for Officer Trainees placed in small ports, as they have limited variety of experiences to learn from and to acquire sufficient examples to meet the competencies in the CDR. However, opportunities already exist for those placed in small and remote ports to complete a few months in a larger/busier port to provide them with an adequate variety of experiences. Others suggested that 12 months also allows Superintendents and Chiefs to identify behavioural problems that may warrant dismissal from the program. However, regional staff pointed out that those with behavioural issues had already displayed some signs while at the CBSA College, and improved communication between the College and the Regions would assist in identifying and correcting some of these challenges at an earlier stage in the OIDP.

Reducing the eligibility for appointment to nine months instead of one year will shorten the length of the training process all together to align better with other similar organizations, but would also result in the following efficiencies for the Agency:

5. Conclusion and Recommendations

Overall, the OIM is an improvement over the previously used POERT model, and for the most part, has been effective at producing BSOs that are armed, job-ready, and prepared to respond to dynamic border issues. However, there are refinements that could be made to optimize effectiveness and improve efficiency. Table 19 summarizes the seven Recommendations that stemmed from the 17 findings in the report.

Table 19: Summary of findings and Recommendations. This table shows that sometimes one Recommendation stemmed from multiple findings in the report.

Recommendations Findings
Recommendation 1: The Vice-President of Operations Branch, in consultation with the Vice-Presidents of Programs Branch and Human Resources Branch, should develop a multi-year, annually updated, Workforce Plan that considers the full range of factors to identify the optimum number, type and location of BSOs to meet operational needs. The Workforce Plan will need to include a placement strategy that allows identification of placement as early as possible in the OIM process. Finding 7: Historically, the funded target of 288 graduating Recruits per year has been insufficient to meet past operational staffing needs.
Finding 8: The funded target for OITP graduates has not considered changes in attrition, promotions, and officers on duty to accommodate or leave without pay. Workforce planning for the number of Officer Trainees required by each region is based on availability of Recruits entering the College rather than actual need.
Finding 9: Although the intent of the OIM is to permanently place Officer Trainees at POEs that had identified a need for additional officers, the Duty Placement Process (DPP) models used in the past five years have resulted in Officer Trainees only temporarily remaining in their assigned location. The continued prevalence of requests for transfers could indicate that the ideal placement model has not been found.
Recommendation 2: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a national outreach and recruitment strategy that considers more effective and efficient screening processes, targets known gaps in BSO representation, such as gender, gaps in BSO staffing at specific POEs, and operational language requirements. The strategy should be updated annually to provide revised targets and priority areas for outreach activities conducted by the regions. Finding 3: There is a need to attract more female, bilingual and Indigenous applicants to ensure the Agency meets the representation targets of these individuals within the BSO populations. The Agency attracts a sufficient number of visible minority applicants.
Finding 15: Based on the selection process used in the past 5 years, a high volume of candidates required screening in order to produce the desired output of 288 graduating Recruits. Out of 30,455 applications screened by the CBSA, only 4.4% were accepted into the training program and only 3.4% were ultimately appointed as BSOs, meaning that the program invested significant resources to produce the required outputs.
Finding 17: The two longest phases of the OIM are Recruitment (Application and Selection) and the OIDP. Within Recruitment, the interview is the longest portion of the screening process within the control of the Agency. There is an opportunity to review all phases of the OIM for efficiency, but most notably the interview process used in the O&R phase and the OIDP.
Recommendation 3: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should review the training stipend provided during the OITP to improve CBSA’s competitiveness to attract quality candidates. Finding 2: The type of applicants that the Agency attracts could be better aligned with Agency needs and the BSO competencies being sought. The Officer Allowance at the College, the mobility clause, and the lengthy process could be limiting the quality of applications received.
Recommendation 4: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a performance measurement framework for the OIM (including all phases), and ensure that improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the new Recruitment model are monitored. Finding 6: The Recruitment process model is currently being redesigned to include the development of new assessment tools and is due to launch in 2018. The new model is expected to improve the way in which candidates are assessed for acceptance into the training program.
Finding 4: The Recruitment (Application and Selection) process used in the OIM is an improvement over the previously used model under the POERT. While the OIM recruitment process effectively selected candidates with the right competencies, additional enhancements are required to improve the candidate experience and select the right number of candidates.
Finding 15: Based on the selection process used in the past 5 years, a high volume of candidates required screening in order to produce the desired output of 288 graduating Recruits. Out of 30,455 applications screened by the CBSA, only 4.4% were accepted into the training program and only 3.4% were ultimately appointed as BSOs, meaning that the program invested significant resources to produce the required outputs.
Finding 17: The two longest phases of the OIM are Recruitment (Application and Selection) and the OIDP. Within Recruitment, the interview is the longest portion of the screening process within the control of the Agency. There is an opportunity to review all phases of the OIM for efficiency, but most notably the interview process used in the O&R phase and the OIDP.
Recommendation 5: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a plan to improve the case management of individuals throughout all phases of the OIM. Finding 5: A limiting factor to an effective Recruitment process in the OIM has been the absence of an adequate information system to manage candidates being screened and assessed.
Recommendation 6: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch, in consultation with the Vice-President of Programs Branch and the Vice-President of Operations Branch, should:

  • Identify how and at which phase of the OIM the competencies for new BSOs will be assessed, with particular attention to the OIDP; and
  • Identify training needs for new BSOs and determine appropriate phase(s) in which training is delivered.
Finding 10: The OITP is well-regarded and delivering training as currently designed; however some training gaps have been identified and the graduating Recruits are not considered ‘job-ready’ when they are placed in the field.
Finding 11: Staff at the POEs are providing additional training considered to be essential to the Officer Trainees to supplement the OITP training. The combination of training delivered in the OITP and the OIDP has ensured that officers appointed through the OIM are ultimately well-trained to meet operational needs. Training provided at the POEs is inconsistent among POEs and across modes.
Recommendation 7: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should review the tools and length of the OIDP. A reduction to the existing timeline to be eligible for appointment (currently at 12 months minimum) should be considered. Finding 12: The various tools used in the OIDP to evaluate Officer Trainees have resulted in inconsistent and/or contradictory opinions about the Officer Trainees’ readiness for appointment.
Finding 16: It is taking too long to appoint BSOs through the OIM. The average current length of the OIM program from Recruitment to appointment to FB-03 is between 30-36 months. This timeframe appears to be longer than other comparative law enforcement agencies.
Finding 17: The two longest phases of the OIM are Recruitment (Application and Selection) and the OIDP. Within Recruitment, the interview is the longest portion of the screening process within the control of the Agency. Opportunities for improved efficiency exist by shortening the length of the interview process and the OIDP.
Recommendation 8: The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should conduct a comprehensive Gender-Based Analysis to identify the specific barriers that affect the experiences experiences of individuals of different backgrounds (i.e., gender, race, socio-economic status, age, etc.) in all phases of the OIM. Finding 3: There is a need to attract more female, bilingual and Indigenous applicants to ensure the Agency meets the representation targets of these individuals within the BSO populations. The Agency attracts a sufficient number of visible minority applicants.
Finding 14: There may be barriers in the OIM that have affected female applicants, candidates and Recruits. Based on the analysis conducted by the evaluation, no significant barriers could be identified which specifically affected the experience of males, gender-diverse people, those of different backgrounds, or those with different language profiles throughout the recruiting, selection, and training processes.

Appendix A - Management Response and Action Plan

Overall Management Response

The Human Resources Branch (HRB), Operations Branch and Programs Branch agree with the findings and Recommendations identified in this evaluation of the Officer Induction Model (OIM). The findings provide the Agency with a view of the current state of the OIM and identifies areas for improvement and further investment to help ensure that the Agency is recruiting, training and developing Border Services Officers (BSO) to take on the duties and responsibilities required in their first stage of employment as a front-line officer.

In a time of increasing expectations of Canadians to have a secure and prosperous country; a requirement for the Agency to be successful in its renewal and to be more agile to operate in an ever increasing complex environment; a need to operate more effectively and efficiently while ensuring we have a workforce that is able to meet these challenges, the Branches (HRB, Ops, Programs) have made a commitment to improve on the OIM to be able to meet the requirements of the Agency and contribute to the success of our new officers and our clients.

Recommendation 1

The Vice-President of Operations Branch, in consultation with the Vice-Presidents of Programs Branch and Human Resources Branch, should develop a multi-year, annually updated, Workforce Plan that considers the full range of factors to identify the optimum number, type and location of BSOs to meet operational needs. The Workforce Plan will need to include a placement strategy that allows identification of placement as early as possible in the OIM process.

Management response
The Vice-President of Operations Branch agrees, in consultation with Programs Branch and HR Branch, to develop an annual Workforce Plan that identifies the optimum number and location of BSOs that meet the current and future operational needs of the Agency. The Workforce Plan will also include an integrated placement strategy for existing officers who have requested deployment, employer requested deployments for promotions or to address changing operational needs, as well as placement strategy for new BSOs that will allow identification of placement to inform Outreach and Recruitment planning. The outcome for new BSOs is that they will know which District/Port of Entry (POE) they will be assigned upon completion of training before they start the in residence portion of training at the CBSA College – Rigaud. The Workforce Plan will address the identification of new BSO requirements due to attrition (retirements, promotions and departures from the Agency), new growth in the BSO population, shifting priorities and CBSA renewal that are not currently addressed in the historically funded 288 new BSOs per year.
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 1.1 Border Operations Directorate (BOD) will establish, in consultation with regions, the operational priorities, through the development of a placement strategy, in order to fill BSO positions at Ports of Entry (POEs). The overall needs will be identified to allow HRB to develop its targeted outreach and recruitment priorities to align with the Operations Branch staffing requirements. Operational priorities to be presented to one|hr from a program perspective and FIMC for associated funding.
July 2018
(updated July & January Annually)
Long Term Workforce Plan for officer needs
1.2 BOD is currently working on a three to five year plan to establish operational needs that take into account attrition, promotions, officers on duty to accommodate as well as upcoming projects and renewal initiatives (in consultation with Programs Branch). This Workforce Plan will be provided to Senior Executives and Human Resources Branch to show the BSO operational needs over the next 5 years and to confirm funding impacts to align with requirements. April 2019
1.3 On a yearly basis, BOD will work with HRB to review and adjust the long term plan as required and ensure that the recruitment targets are changed to meet operational needs. Annually (starting in April 2020)

Recommendation 2

The Vice-President of Operations Branch, in consultation with the Vice-Presidents of Programs Branch and Human Resources Branch, should develop a multi-year, annually updated, Workforce Plan that considers the full range of factors to identify the optimum number, type and location of BSOs to meet operational needs. The Workforce Plan will need to include a placement strategy that allows identification of placement as early as possible in the OIM process.

Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a national outreach and recruitment strategy that considers more effective and efficient screening processes, targets known gaps in BSO representation, such as gender, gaps in BSO staffing at specific POEs, and operational language requirements. The strategy should be updated annually to provide revised targets and priority areas for outreach activities conducted by the regions.
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 2.1. HRB will develop a National Outreach Strategy that will be based on the Operations Branch Workforce Plan, geographical needs, Employment Equity gaps in BSO recruitment and which aligns with the placement strategy. Outreach guidelines for Regional Recruiters to follow will be included in this Strategy in order to support efforts to recruit the right candidates
January 2020

Recommendation 3

The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should review the training stipend provided during the OITP to improve CBSA’s competitiveness to attract quality candidates.

Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch agrees with this recommendation, and has already initiated the process to develop an option analysis by collecting information from various federal and provincial entities and departments, including other law enforcement organization. Options explored will consider various affordable models including student loans. Once completed, a business case will be developed and presented through the governance committees to provide a recommended option, and associated costs (as applicable). An increase in the training stipend will allow the Agency to be more competitive in attracting high quality candidates by providing them with a realistic source of revenue to sustain financial and personal responsibilities i.e. housing, mortgage, student loans, etc., while on training at the CBSA College.
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 3.1. Development of an option analysis and business case, in consultation with Comptrollership Branch, to increase the BSO training stipend or otherwise make additional financial resources available to new BSO during the OITP (in-residence) phase of training at the CBSA College.
January 2019
3.2. Presentation and approval of the business case through CBSA Governance Committees. April 2019

Recommendation 4

The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a performance measurement framework for the OIM (including all phases), and ensure that improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the new Recruitment model are monitored.

Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch agrees with this recommendation and has already developed a performance measurement framework (PMF) in support of the integration of the Force Generation Program as part of the Departmental Results Framework. The Force Generation Program PMF includes all phases of the OIM. Following presentation at EC HR on March 8, 2017, HRB is to review to address feedback received from the members. A revised PMF, in consultation with Programs and Operations, is to be presented at the Executive Committee (EC) HR in the fall.
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 4.1. Revised Force Generation Program Performance Measurement Framework (including the OIM) to be presented at EC HR
January 2019

Recommendation 5

The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should develop a plan to improve the case management of individuals throughout all phases of the OIM.

Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch agrees with this recommendation. In order to improve the case management of individuals throughout all phases of the OIM and ensure the capture of demographic information necessary for workforce planning, the HRB, in consultation with ISTB, will address this issue by implementing / procuring automated system for BSO recruitment, the Officer Induction Training Program and the Officer Induction Development Program. This gap has been identified and resourced as part of the Multi Year Levels Plans initiative.
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 5.1. Implementation of the automated Integrated Staffing System (ISS) to modernize and streamline recruitment and staffing activities for BSO recruitment.
April 2019
5.2. Refining the automation of the Officer Induction Development Program tracking as part of the ISS. January 2020

Recommendation 6

The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch, in consultation with the Vice-President of Programs Branch and the Vice-President of Operations Branch, should:

  • Identify how and at which phase of the OIM the competencies for new BSOs will be assessed, with particular attention to the OIDP; and
  • Identify training needs for new BSOs and determine appropriate phase(s) in which training is delivered.
Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources, in consultation with the Operations Branch and the Programs Branch, are in agreement with this recommendation. The HRB has already started aligning its assessment strategy to the BSO competency profile taking into consideration a review conducted by an external firm. Moving forward, in consultation with Programs and Operations, we will apply a similar approach to the Officer Induction Model.
Management Action Plan Completion Date

Human Resources Branch, in consultation with the Operations Branch and Programs Branch, will review the competencies and skills required and revise its assessment tools and training requirements, as appropriate, ensuring it meets the BSO profile for all modes, while respecting anticipated CBSA renewal principles.

January 2019
  • 6.1. A detailed task analysis will be conducted for BSO population for each mode of traveller, commercial, postal, rail and marine operations
6.2. Findings and recommendations from the detailed task analysis will be approved through CBSA Governance Committees April 2019
6.3. Creation and implementation, in consultation with Programs and Operations, of a new refined learning strategy that captures skills and competency to mitigate any training gaps identified as well as identification of delivery and assessment strategies for each phase of the OIM (e.g. OITP, OIDP) and in service training at Ports of Entry. April 2020

Recommendation 7

The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should review the tools and length of the OIDP. A reduction to the existing timeline to be eligible for appointment (currently at 12 months minimum) should be considered.

Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch agrees with this recommendation. Currently the HRB, through its Officer Induction Development Program (OIDP) uses a thorough assessment framework, process and tools to assess officer trainees against FB-03 Statement of Merit Criteria, ensuring competency and on-the-job training performance reviews is completed during the one year probation period and to recommend BSO promotion to FB-03. This process is completed in consultation and collaboration with regional operations through the various OIDP phases (e.g. Performance is assessed by local management using the Trainee Performance Questionnaire and competencies and Conditions of Employment are assessed by reviewing Competency Demonstration Reports submitted by the officer trainees).
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 7.1. Continue the current review of the assessment process and tools ensuring greater participation by local regional management
November 2018
7.2. Provide finding and recommendation and seek approval through the CBSA Governance Committees January 2019
7.3. Implement revised assessment process and tools, including communication with regional management April 2019

Recommendation 8

The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch should conduct a comprehensive Gender-Based Analysis to identify the specific barriers that affect the experiences of individuals of different backgrounds (i.e., gender, race, socio-economic status, age, etc.) in all phases of the OIM.

Management response
The Vice-President of Human Resources Branch agrees with this recommendation and the Branch has taken initial steps to improve the inclusive nature of the OIM. For example, the Agency’s learning designers have been trained in GBA+ and have assessed the OITP classroom materials. Female recruits are asked to participate in a discussion of challenges they faced in applying for and participating in the OITP process with feedback provided to process leads. The CBSA has identified the current socio-demographic characteristics of the workforce to help set recruitment targets where there is under-representation. A new exam for OIM applicants will be introduced in July 2018 that has been assessed against GBA+ with unintended biases in language and plans for delivery removed. HRB is also exploring ways to broaden its inclusivity efforts through targeted recruitment and workforce strategies for various communities. HRB will seek to strengthen its expertise by drawing on outside expertise for guidance on how best to realize meaningful and lasting change. The pace and scope of activity will depend on availability of resources.
Management Action Plan Completion Date
  • 8.1 Secure a GBA+ resource to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the OIM with options for resolution for priority groups.
April 2019
(Timing dependant on securing resource)
8.2 Develop a plan and methods for collecting demographic information of applicants/recruits at each stage of the OIM. April 2019
8.3 Develop a multi-year action plan to address GBA+ in the OIM, based on the outcome of the comprehensive study, with a short list of meaningful measures and methods for monitoring progress January 2020
8.4 Present and seek Senior Management approval of the multi-year plan once developed. June 2020

Appendix B - Evaluation Methodology

The CBSA’s 2016 Integrated Audit and Evaluation Plan included an evaluation of Force Generation. The evaluation was scoped to include only the OIM portion of Force Generation which was approved by the Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC) on May 22, 2017. As outlined in Table B, the evaluation focused its analysis on the three phases of the OIM, including Outreach and Recruitment, the OITP and the OIDP. The focus of data collection was on program activities undertaken between FYs 2012–2013 to 2016–2017, specifically using OITP cohorts 1 to 8B. In some cases, data from FY 2017–2018 was used to supplement analysis (e.g., cohort 8B appointments in January 2018).

The National Training Plan, National Training Standards and instructor recruitment were not included in this evaluation.

Table B–1: Evaluation Scope

Table B–1: Evaluation Scope

Included in the Evaluation Excluded from the Evaluation
Outreach and Recruitment activities and processes related to the OIM All other forms of recruitment not related to the Officer Trainee Program.
Selection of candidates to participate in the Officer Trainee Development Program. Other selection processes.
The training of Recruits through the OITP (online and at the CBSA College). All other training programs.
The development of Officer Trainees during the OIDP and eventual appointment to FB-03s.

Evaluation Questions and Approach

At the time of the evaluation, the OIM did not have an approved logic model, performance measurement strategy, or key performance indicators. The evaluation questions, as listed in Table B-2, are centred on the core issues of effectiveness, efficiency and economy as outlined in the 2016 TBS Directive on Results. Consultations with key stakeholders and a review of key documents during the planning stage assisted in refining the questions to ensure that the evaluation provided useful information for decision making.

Table B-2: Evaluation Issues and Questions

Evaluation Issue: Effectiveness
  1. To what extent are outreach and recruiting activities targeting candidates with the right competencies, at the right time to be placed in the right location for the Agency?
  2. Does the program recruit and select individuals that meet the Agency’s needs with regard to official language, gender and diversity?
  3. Are there barriers in the recruiting, selection and training processes that unintentionally affect men, women or gender-diverse people of different backgrounds (e.g., race, ethnicity, religion, age, socio-economic, etc.)? Which specific groups experience the most significant barriers?
  4. What have been the impacts (intended and unintended) of barriers in OIM recruiting and training practices on OIM participants and the Agency?
  5. Has OIM adapted recruiting and training practices to limit barriers for men, women, and gender-diverse people of different backgrounds ((e.g., race, ethnicity, religion, age, socio-economic, etc.)?
  6. To what extent is OIM appointing BSOs in accordance with Agency needs in terms of:
    • a) Quantity of officers needed
    • b) Location/placement needs
  7. To what extent are officers well-trained in accordance to operational requirements?
  8. Are OIDP graduates able to fulfill their duties?
  9. How can the program be enhanced?
Evaluation Issue: Efficiency and Economy
  • To what extent is OIM efficient at recruiting, training, developing, and placing new BSOs?
  • Are there alternative and more efficient ways to recruit, train and develop new BSOs?

Evaluation Advisory Committee

An Evaluation Advisory Committee (EAC) was established to support the evaluation by providing input, advice and suggestions regarding evaluation deliverables. The committee membership was established at the outset of the evaluation and included Directors General from all Branches.

The EAC provided input to the evaluation at the following critical stages:

  1. Development of the Evaluation Project Plan and Evaluation Matrix;
  2. Development of Preliminary Findings; and
  3. Development of the Draft Report.

Committee members were also provided regular updates through a network of OPIs and OSIs that was established at the outset of the evaluation.

Lines of Evidence

Data collection was conducted between July 2017 and February 2018. To ensure the validity of the findings, the methodology for this evaluation includes multiple lines of evidence and complementary research methods. The specific lines of evidence used included:

  1. Document Review;
  2. Interviews;
  3. Field research;
  4. Benchmarking/Comparative Analysis;
  5. Surveys;
  6. Data analysis (including operational, performance, human resource and financial data); and
  7. Business Process Mapping.

The detail on each line of evidence is provided below, including limitations within each methodology, where applicable.

1. Document Review

This evaluation included a review of internal and external documents to provide historical context and determine ongoing and upcoming initiatives. The following list is a sample of the types of documents reviewed:

2. Interviews

During the planning phase of the evaluation, interviews with DGs and VPs provided insight into how the program was designed and how it is intended to be delivered. Planning interviews also provided strategic perspectives on other CBSA initiatives and the broader impact of the OIM on key stakeholders. Such insights provided an opportunity to focus the evaluation questions on the most important aspects of the program.

During the conduct phase, interviews were strategically conducted after some initial data had been gathered through the survey, document review and operational data analysis. Interviewees were asked to provide context to the interpretation of the data and to elaborate on potential reasons for the preliminary data results. At this phase of the evaluation, interviewees included Managers, Directors and DGs at HQ who are responsible for delivery of the program. Approximately 23 interviews were conducted with HQ staff in HRB, Operations Branch and Comptrollership. An additional 130 individuals (Regional Directors, Chiefs, Sups, BSOs, Officer Trainees, and Recruits) were consulted through other research (Field Research and Benchmarking) described below.

For the most part, interviews were conducted in person using a structured methodology, using interview guides to collect specific information related to performance indicators and data interpretation. Where appropriate, targeted questions were also posed of specific interviewees to explore certain issues in more depth.

For this evaluation, the following ordinal scale was used for the qualitative data analysis of interview responses.

Table B-3: Ordinal scale for qualitative data analysis and reporting

Scale Response count range
None The shared views, opinions or experiences of 0% of the respondents
(A) Few The shared views, opinions or experiences of 1 to 24% of the respondents
Some The shared views, opinions or experiences of 25 to 49% of the respondents
Many The shared views, opinions or experiences of 50% to 74% of the respondents
Most The shared views, opinions or experiences of 75% to 99% of the respondents
All The shared views, opinions or experiences of 100% of the respondents

3. Field Research

Field research provided an opportunity to interact directly with participants in the OIM and observe how the program is managed and delivered in the field. It was also during these field visits that regional management and operational staff provided their insights on the delivery of the program, including what works well and what could be improved about the OIM.

Field research locations were selected based on consultations with the EAC members and budget availability. The following criteria was used to select appropriate regions and POEs to visit:

The following regions and locations were visited:

  1. Greater Toronto Area: Pearson International Airport;
  2. Southern Ontario Region: Detroit Windsor Tunnel; Ambassador Bridge (Windsor); and Blue Water Bridge (Sarnia);
  3. Pacific Region: Vancouver International Airport; Douglas (Surrey); Pacific Highway (Surrey); and Abbotsford-Huntingdon (Huntingdon); and
  4. Rigaud, QC: CBSA College.

For all other regions that could not be visited (in person), separate teleconferences with Chiefs were conducted, which resulted in the evaluation having a balanced perspective on the OIM from a national level. 

During regional visits, the evaluation team conducted interviews with regional management and direct supervisors of Officer Trainees, and conducted informal discussions with recently appointed BSOs and current Officer Trainees.

At the College, the evaluation team attended two classes, observed primary simulations, conducted interviews with CBSA College management and supervisors, and delivered a presentation to Recruits on the results of the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey.

The following table summarizes the categories of participants that were consulted through individual/group interviews and informal group discussions:

Table B-4: Number and category of participants in regional interviews

Category Number
District Directors 6
Chiefs, Superintendents, Supervisors and Instructors 52
BSOs (appointed through the OIM) 48
Officer Trainees (completing their OIDP placement) 19
Recruits (attending the CBSA College)Footnote 88 35
Total Participants Consulted 160

4. Benchmarking/Comparative Analysis

The evaluation team collected information to identify similarities and key differences in intake training programs among similar organizations. The training programs for the five following organizations were chosen for comparison with the OIM:

  1. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP);
  2. Department of National Defence - Canadian Armed Forces (DND);
  3. Correctional Service of Canada (CSC);
  4. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP); and
  5. Canadian Coast Guard.

This methodology was mostly limited to the collection of information available through open-source documents and information (i.e., documents and information published on the organizations’ websites); however, in the case of the CSC and the DND, interviews were also conducted to compare training programs and to gather lessons learned and best practices. The evaluation team also attended an RCMP recruitment session in order to collect information on application and training requirements.

The evaluation did not collect performance data to enable a comparison of effectiveness or efficiency between the various training programs. The comparative analysis was limited to process (i.e., delivery design), length of time, and the training stipend provided to trainees during the training programs.

5. Surveys

Two online surveys were administered by a consultant (external resource to the CBSA), in consultation with CBSA evaluators. The consultant also conducted the data analysis and produced a technical report of the survey findings.

The two online surveys completed were:

The response rate was higher for OIDP participants and appointed BSOs than for Recruits attending the CBSA College. This is due, in part, to technical and logistical challenges that made it difficult for Recruits to answer the survey (i.e. lack of access to the internet on the laptops issued by CBSA to Recruits and technical problems with the Wi-Fi at the College). Table B-5 shows the sample size and response rates for each category of respondents.

Table B-5: Sample size and response rate for the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey

  Recruits Officer Trainees BSOs Total
Sample 177 395 784 1,356
Valid Sample (bounce backs/invalid contact information removed) 163 393 721 1,277
Number of responses received 53 267 529 848
Response Rate (Number of responses received/Valid sample)   66.4%

Respondents to the OIM Evaluation Staff Survey self-identified as being part of one of three groups. The category of ‘CBSA College staff’ included administrators and members of the OIDP program team in charge of placement along with trainers and instructors. ‘Regional staff’ included operational management (Superintendents and Chiefs). Finally, ‘HQ staff’ included HR and Operations Branch staff working at HQ. Table B-6 provides the breakdown of respondents and response rates. It should also be noted that although staff members are identified based on their current position, mobility within the CBSA might mean that some respondents have held other positions within the OIM. Consequently, the opinions expressed by respondents may also be influenced by their past experience in a different role within or outside the OIM.

Table B-6: Response rates for the OIM Evaluation Staff Survey (valid sample size = 829)

  CBSA College Staff Regional Staff HQ Staff OtherFootnote 89 Total
Number of responses received 39 263 32 4 338
Response Rate (Number of responses received/Valid sample) 41%

6. Data Analysis

The evaluation obtained operational, performance, and human resource data to assess the effectiveness of the OIM. For the purposes of this evaluation, data from cohorts 1 to 8B was used the majority of the time, as these were the only cohorts that had completed all phases of the OIM at the time of the evaluation. In some circumstances additional cohorts were included in order to increase the sample size (mostly for analysis of time). To the extent possible, the evaluation included data on the number of applications, demographics of participants, success rates at each stage and assessment of results.

In some cases, there were evaluation limitations due to the reliability or the availability of the data. For example, the OIM does not use one centralized database to track and manage participants’ information through each phase of the program. Instead, multiple Excel files are relied upon with varying degrees of completeness. Missing data points and incomplete information within these files made it challenging to analyse the data to determine volumes and processing times. To mitigate this challenge, the evaluation team conducted a data clean-up that required a line-by-line alignment of thousands of entries to get a clear picture of the experiences of individuals through all phases of the OIM.

Another limitation was the lack of consistent demographic data. As the identification of gender is not mandatory at the application stage, the evaluation conducted demographic analysis on the 30% of applicants who voluntarily self-identified. As such, findings for the Outreach and Recruitment phase were based on the sample and not the entire population of applicants.

During the other phases of the OIM (OITP and OIDP) gender information was kept by program staff for all Recruits/Officer Trainees for planning purposes. As such, findings related to gender differences during the OITP and the OIDP were based on the experiences of the entire population. One major limitation of demographic data during the OITP and the OIDP was the absence of data on visible minorities. Therefore, no conclusions related to the experiences of visible minorities could be drawn.

The availability of financial data was also a limitation that prevented the evaluation from conducting analysis on the costs of the program to determine areas where financial efficiencies could be gained. At the time of the evaluation, Comptrollership Branch was in the process of improving the costing model to more accurately determine the total annual cost of the OIM. Preliminary costs information for FY 2016–2017 were provided using two different models, however costs need to be validated further for completeness and accuracy. The Force Generation Costing Model included the classification of financial data by phases and expense type. The model however, did not provide a complete costing of the OIDP as it did not include FB-02 salaries. The Corporate Administrative System (CAS) Data model was divided by line items into categories and was split into salary and non-salary. It was then rolled up by expense type and allocated between fixed and variable costs across the phases. For the purposes of this evaluation, the financial data from the CAS model was used.

7. Business Process Mapping

In order to assess efficiency within the OIM, this evaluation used a business process mapping exercise. Business process mapping is an example of operational efficiency analysis which focuses on the relationship between resources and outputs. It refers to the range of activities that involve identifying key processes to determine whether any bottlenecks (challenges) exist that would be preventing the achievement of outputs and outcomes.Footnote 90The process for all three phases of the OIM was mapped out in a graphical representation to determine the order of activities and identify potential bottleneck and redundant activities. Additionally each phase was mapped against time to determine the length of the process. Changes in participants total time spent in all phases of the OIM was calculated and analyzed as an indicator of program efficiency.

Gender-Based Analysis + (GBA+)

As part of this evaluation, Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) was conducted to determine if any particular group of OIM participants experienced the OIM differently as compared to others. According to the Status of Women Canada, GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The ‘plus’ in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA+ goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences.Footnote 91

In order to conduct this analysis, demographic information was collected, where possible, for various sets of performance and operational data. The success rates of participants for each phase of the OIM were analyzed by demographic group to determine if there were any challenges for specific groups. Questions about barriers were also included in the OIM Evaluation Trainee Survey and demographic-based questions allowed for cross tabulations to analyze the responses by demographic groups.

One major limitation of this GBA+ analysis was the limited availability of demographic data at the Application and Selection stage of the OIM. Since applicant identification as a member of an employment equity group (e.g., women, indigenous, visible minority) is not mandatory in the application, analysis at this stage could only be conducted on the 30% of the applicants that voluntarily self-reported as belonging to one of these groups. During the OITP and the OIDP phases of OIM, demographic data was more readily available since the CBSA collects this information for operational and HR planning purposes.

Appendix C – Program Profile

Overview:

The Officer Induction Model (OIM) was introduced in 2012-2013 to provide a consistent and comprehensive approach to recruiting, assessing, training, and developing high-calibre Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officers suited for service in an armed law-enforcement agency. The Agency’s goal is to produce a modernized workforce of CBSA officers who are armed, job-ready, mobile, and prepared to respond to dynamic border issues. The OIM replaced the previous model used by the CBSA, the Port of Entry Recruit Training (POERT). A visual summary of the OIM is included in Appendix A.

Target and Expected Outcomes:

The OIM’s baseline target from 2012–2013 to 2017–2018 was to produce 288 graduating Recruits (graduates from the CBSA College) annually based on the funding that was made available at the time of the OIM’s inception.

The OIM is not considered a “program” from an Agency Departmental Results Framework perspective, but rather, a component of the Force Generation Program. As such, the OIM does not have a performance measurement framework or an approved logic model. The draft logic model, developed for the purpose of this evaluation is included in Appendix B and identifies the following expected outcomes:

OIM Phases

The OIM is comprised of three phases: the Officer Trainee Recruitment and Outreach (O&R), the Officer Induction Training Program (OITP) and the Officer Induction Development Program (OIDP).

1. Recruitment and Outreach

Although ‘Outreach’ and ‘Recruitment’ are included under one phase of the OIM, they are two distinct sets of activities. Outreach consists of all activities conducted before individuals apply to the CBSA, while Recruitment encompasses activities after applications are submitted and includes CBSA’s assessment of eligible individuals to determine their suitability for the training program. Individuals at the Outreach phase of the OIM are referred to as ‘applicants’, while those being assessed by the CBSA’s Recruitment team are referred to as ‘candidates’.

Outreach

Outreach activities include advertising (e.g., online posters on jobs.gc.ca, videos), social media outreach, and in-person presentations at recruitment events or career fairs. The purpose of conducting outreach is to attract applicants to the Selection Process Poster for the CBSA Officer Trainee – Developmental Program. The target demographic includes 18-34 year olds, with a particular interest in 25-34 year olds, women and bilingual applicants.

Outreach activities are delivered jointly by the Human Resources Branch at Headquarters (HQ) and by Operations Branch, Regional Operations. While HR manages the advertising campaigns and the national job poster, Regional Operations staff participate in outreach events such as presentations and career fairs at the local level.

Before applying, applicants must possess three basic requirements:

At the time of application, applicants must be willing to accept a posting anywhere in Canada as a condition of employment (Mobility Clause).

Recruitment

The CBSA issues a national Selection Process Poster about once per year through the Government of Canada’s online platform, jobs.gc.ca. Historically, the poster has been open-ended (with no application deadline) and results in an inventory of about 20,000 applicants per year which includes applicants that were not selected from previous processes. Applications that meet the basic requirements (i.e. secondary school education, completion of the CFSC and CRFSC, valid driver’s license, plus citizenship) are pulled from the inventory by CBSA Recruitment staff who will then assess the candidates using screening tools to determine if they meet the desired competencies as listed in the Selection Process Poster. At the end of the recruitment process, candidates are invited to the OITP, which if they complete successfully, may lead to an offer of employment as an Officer Trainee in the OIDP at the FB-02 level. The eventual goal is to appoint Officer Trainees as Border Services Officers at the FB-03 level once they complete the OIDP.

Candidates who are not pulled from the inventory for assessment may refresh their application and will remain in the CBSA inventory for future consideration. Every Selection Process Poster issued has the goal of attracting new applicants. Since the inception of the OIM, four Selection Processes, each with a corresponding poster on jobs.gc.ca, have been issued and are referred to in this evaluation report by the following numerical reference numbers: 333, 444, 555, and 006.

After applying online, applicants may be invited by the CBSA Recruitment staff to:

  1. Write two standardized testsFootnote 92 developed by the Public Service Commission;
  2. Participate in an interview;
  3. Complete a Second Language Evaluation (required for bilingual applicants);
  4. Complete a psychological evaluationFootnote 93 to determine their suitability to carry a fire-arm;
  5. Undergo a Category III (CATIII) medical exam;
  6. Complete the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) (if not already completed); and
  7. Complete the CBSA’s personnel security screening process (Reliability level only at the Recruitment phase).

Over the past five years, the steps above were generally completed sequentially, with candidates being invited to the next step in the process if successful in the previous step. For the first four years of the OIM, the standardized tests were mandatory for all applicants and served as the first screening tool to reduce the number of applicants proceeding to the interview stage. Since selection process 006, applicants with a university or college education were exempt from writing the standardized tests and proceeded directly to the interview stage. All candidates who successfully completed the screening criteria were invited to attend online portion of the OITP.

2. Officer Induction Training Program (OITP)

The OITP consists of a two-part training program: online and in-residence training. The online training is self-paced, supported by Border Services Instructors, and includes about 50 hours of content that must be completed over 4 weeks.Footnote 94 The in-residence training takes 18 weeks and is delivered at the CBSA College in Rigaud, Quebec. During this phase of the OIM, individuals are referred to as Recruits.

Recruits receive an allowance of $125 per week while at the CBSA College. During this time, they are not employees of the CBSA. All Recruits must reside on-site and are provided with a private bedroom, all meals, access to computers, Wi-Fi, and access to fitness, sports and recreational services. During the OITP, Recruits are screened for Secret level security so that they can proceed to the next phase of the OIM upon graduation.

During the OITP, Recruits are taught:

The exact content of the curriculum, the delivery design, and the assessment criteria is determined by the Human Resources Branch with input from regional stakeholders and has been modified every year since the inception of the OIM.

Throughout the OITP, Recruits are assessed to determine their eligibility to graduate from the CBSA College. Those deemed successful become Officer Trainees and are placed in the region to complete the next phase of the OIM.Footnote 95

2. Officer Induction Development Program (OIDP)

Officer Trainees are posted to one of the CBSA's ports of entry (POE) across Canada where they will spend the next 12 to 18 months learning through on-the-job (‘hands-on’) training, coaching, feedback and additional mode specific training.

The Ports of Entry at which recruits will be placed are identified during their stay at the CBSA College. The process used to place Recruits is referred to as the Duty Placement Process (DPP) and has included three different models since the inception of the OIM. The original DPP was merit-based and the order by which Recruits selected their POE was decided by class rank which was based on individual test scores. The subsequent process was a double random process whereby Recruits selected their POE based on a randomly assigned time. The most current process used is also random, but allows for some consideration of location preference (including a swap option), and includes the ability for Recruits to voluntarily choose a Limited Duration Post in exchange for selecting the POE of their choice upon completion. Historically, the list of available priority placement locations which is identified by Operations Branch has varied from cohort to cohort. Upon graduation from the CBSA College, Recruits are given between 2 to 4 weeks to relocate and compensated for their relocation costs (up to a maximum of $5,000).Footnote 96

During the OIDP, Officer Trainees receive an FB-02 salary and are performance managed by Operations Branch (Regional Operations), although they remain the primary responsibility of HR Branch. Officer Trainees are assessed every three months using the Trainee Performance Questionnaires (TPQ) developed by HR Branch in consultation with Operations Branch. There are 43 criteria assessed through the TPQs which are divided into five categories: Client Service, Program and Service Delivery, Enforcement Related Activities, OIDP Trainee Behavioural Expectations and Requirements, and Legislation, Policies, Procedures and Guidelines. The TPQ criteria is behavioural-based (as opposed to competency-based) and is designed to assist Superintendents to determine if the Officer Trainee has demonstrated the expected skills for the Border Services Officer position.

After a minimum of 12 months in the OIDP an Officer Trainee will be eligible for appointment to a BSO (FB-03) subject to:

A Merit Review Board (MRB) is then held which includes input and participation of Regional Chiefs as well as HR staff (the OID Program team) to determine the Officer Trainee’s eligibility for appointment to FB-03. In order to be eligible for promotion the Officer Trainee must have an “Evaluation Package” which includes all completed core Program documents including:

The MRB is responsible for reviewing all documents in the Evaluation Package and for providing a Recommendation for promotion. Those recommended for promotion at 12 months are given an offer of employment as a Border Services Officer with the CBSA. Those needing further development complete an additional 3 to 6 months at the FB-02 level before being reconsidered by the MRB for appointment. Those assessed as not successful after 18 months in the OIDP are released from the program.

Key Stakeholders and Program Management Structure:

The Human Resources Branch of the CBSA is responsible for the OIM. Within HR Branch, two directorates are responsible for the delivery of the different phases of the OIM:

Operations Branch (Border Operations Directorate) is also considered a key stakeholder, as they are responsible for performance management of the Officer Trainees during the OIDP. The Regional Director General (RDG) of each host region is the delegated authority to appoint successful CBSA Officer Trainees in their Region to an FB-03 Border Services Officer position. The RDG of the host Region is responsible for ensuring compliance with the mutually agreed upon OID Placement Agreements and supporting participants in their region while in the OIDP.Footnote 101

The Operations Branch (Border Operations Directorate) is also the beneficiary of the program, as they will eventually employ the FB-03s produced through the OIM.

Currently, the Programs Branch does not play an explicit role in the delivery of the OIM, but may be able to advice on the future needs of the OITP curriculum design.

Resources:

The current HR resources used by the OIM is approximately $40M annually, including 157 full-time equivalents.Footnote 102 There are additional regional resources (e.g., FB-05s and FB-07s, as well as additional regional expenditures) used to deliver the OIDP phase of the OIM, but historically, these have not been reported as part of the program spending.

Appendix D - OIM Logic Model

Appendix E - OIM Assessment Continuum

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