Executive Summary
Recourse Program

The Recourse Directorate (RD) provides the business community and individuals (henceforth referred to as clients) with an accessible mechanism to seek an impartial review of trade decisions, enforcement actions, prohibited goods, late accounting penalties and membership cancellations or rejections from a trusted program administered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The Program ensures that the decisions taken by the CBSA officials are fair, transparent and accurately reflect the policies and the legislation administered by the Agency.

Clients may submit in writing a request to have their enforcement action or trade decision reviewed by the CBSA. Once submitted, clients are provided with a timely acknowledgement and review of the appeal that takes into consideration the legislation administered by the Agency, CBSA policies, the client's point of view and, where necessary, technical opinions from CBSA experts or legal advice from the Department of Justice (DOJ). Clients who are not satisfied with the CBSA's review may then appeal to the appropriate court, tribunal or external review body.

The Recourse Program operates independently from other CBSA programs and is part of the Corporate Affairs Branch. They consider all information, evidence or submissions from the parties to make objective and supportable findings of fact and defensible interpretations of the law.

The Recourse Content Management System (RCMS) was released in two phases: RCMS Trade was implemented on November 1, 2013 and RCMS Enforcement was implemented on April 1, 2016.

Protecting your personal information

The following personal information elements will be collected and managed by the Recourse Program in order to identify clients and process their appeal requests:

The personal information is being collected directly from the individual. The information provided is collected under the authority of paragraph 5(1)(a) of the Canada Border Services Agency Act. The information may be disclosed to employees of the CBSA, including those involved where the incident occurred, for the purposes of reviewing and investigating the circumstances that led up to the enforcement action under appeal and to provide feedback to program officials on client experiences and appeal outcomes. Information may also be shared internally with Security and Professional Standards for employees to conduct investigations, or may be shared internally or with international, federal, provincial or local law enforcement agencies for law enforcement and investigation purposes as authorized by subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.

Right of access

You may formally request access to your personal information, or access to corporate records related to or created by the Recourse Program by contacting the Access to Information and Privacy Division. More information about this can be found on the Access to Information and Privacy page.

The information related to a review will be retained for seven years (six years, plus current) after the decision was made and then it will be destroyed.


If you have concerns about the collection, use, disclosure or retention of your personal information, you may issue a complaint to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada who is mandated to investigate.  Complaints should be made in writing, and include your name, contact information, and a brief description of your concerns.  Details of the complaint process can be found on the Privacy Commissioner's Website.

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