Canada Border Services Agency Year in Review highlights

News release

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) plays a vital role in upholding the integrity of our borders, helping to grow our economy and keeping Canadians safe. Acting as Canada’s first line of defence, the CBSA would like to highlight some of the results achieved last year, and how it contributed to protecting Canadians and communities.

In 2019, Border Services Officers made some significant contributions, including:

  • nearly 33,000 drug seizures;
  • more than 150 child pornography seizures;
  • 540 firearms and nearly 17,000 weapons from reaching our communities;
  • Interception of food, plant and animal goods that could have caused harm to Canadian crops, livestock, environment and ecosystems; and
  • more than 2,000 penalties issued, and over $500,000 in fines.

These successes demonstrate the varied scope of the Agency’s role in contributing to and keeping our communities safe, while maintaining a focus on the important tasks of reducing the smuggling of opioids and other contraband across Canadian borders and the interception of illegal firearms.

The CBSA’s Work Supports a Strong Economy

Here are some examples of how the CBSA contributed to growing the Canadian economy in 2019.

  • The CBSA helped grow Canada’s economy last year by enabling 20.7 million releases of commercial goods and almost 60 million courier shipments through our ports of entry and cargo and international mail centres. Trusted Trader program participants accounted for over $184.4 billion in value for duty goods imported. We also collected $32.6 billion worth of duties and taxes that helped fund government programs across the country.

  • Over 97 million Canadians and visitors passed through our borders in 2019, including 57.6 million in highway mode and 36.5 million by air. Over 21.8 million air travellers were processed by Primary Inspection Kiosks (PIK) that enabled officers to focus on higher risk people and goods.

  •  The joint Canada-US-Mexico NEXUS program has grown to 1.8 million members since its inception in 2000 and promotes the use of technology to speed up processing of travellers that have passed security pre-screening at land, air and marine border crossings.

  • Modernized NEXUS kiosks using facial biometric technologies started being deployed at airports across Canada. The new kiosks use a new process that compares travellers to their ID and is expected to further expedite NEXUS air processing and enhance the travel experience through the customs hall.

  • The CBSA deployed the first six of an additional 24 Detector Dog Service teams that will be added over 5 years to its repertoire of world class teams. The additional teams came as a result of the Government of Canada’s 2019 announcement of new funding of up to $31 million to help prevent African Swine Fever by increasing the number of detector dogs specialized in intercepting the illegal entry of food, plants and animal products at Canadian ports of entry.

CBSA Safeguards Borders to Create Safer Communities

Here are some examples of how the CBSA helped protect Canadians and communities in 2019:

  • In March, Border Services Officers at the Port of Montreal (QC) intercepted 91 kilos of cocaine in the ceiling of a container arriving from Mexico, keeping over $11.4 million worth of drugs off our streets.

  • In six separate incidents between March and August 2019, 33 handguns were seized by officers at the Peace Bridge (Fort Erie, ON), 6 at the Rainbow Bridge (Niagara Falls, ON) and 15 at the Ambassador Bridge (Windsor, ON). The firearms were found concealed in vehicles or on their person. These enforcement actions elevated the total number of firearms seized in the Southern Ontario Region in 2019 to 301 handguns seized.

  • In July, Canada and the U.S. began exchanging basic biographic entry information (such as full names and date of birth) on all travellers at the land border, so that entry into one country serves as an exit record from the other. The Entry/Exit Initiative will help Canada make better, timely decisions on border management, law enforcement, national security, citizenship applications, immigration, and social services.

  • In July, CBSA officers at the Coutts port of entry (AB) referred a commercial driver for further examination. While searching his vehicle, officers uncovered 33 bags of methamphetamine with a total weight of approximately 50 kg. This was the largest methamphetamine seizure ever made by the CBSA in southern Alberta, equating to roughly 500,000 doses and valued at over $6.3 million.

  • Between July and December 2019, nearly 227 kilograms of cocaine valued at $28.3 million was seized from commercial vehicles in the Southern Ontario Region in three separate incidents including two seizures at the Ambassador Bridge and one at the Blue Water Bridge (Sarnia, ON).

  •  In October, CBSA welcomed potential new Canadians from a flight originating from Libya carrying nearly 300 government- and privately-sponsored refugees and another flight carrying 100 refugee claimants from Egypt arrived at the same time at Toronto Pearson International Airport (ON). CBSA officers and management processed the refugee claimants in a timely and professional manner.

  •  In January, a truck driver was referred for a secondary exam where officers at the Lansdowne port of entry (Thousand Islands, ON) discovered eight skids of undeclared cheese, totalling approximately 3,990 kg. The cheese was seized and the driver charged with smuggling, found guilty and ordered to pay a $30,000 fine.
For more year in review highlights, contact the CBSA’s media relations office.


“Our employees play a vital role in growing the Canadian economy by collecting revenue, facilitating trade and travel, welcoming newcomers to our country and keeping our communities safe. These are just a few examples of the work that our dedicated team of employees provide Canadians every hour of every day as our first line of defence.”

— John Ossowski, President, Canada Border Services Agency


Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency

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