CBSA Northern Ontario Region operational and enforcement highlights from 2020

News release

December 10, 2020                   

Ottawa, Ontario             

Protecting and Supporting Canadians during COVID-19

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Northern Ontario Region today released operational and enforcement highlights that demonstrate how CBSA employees throughout the region have worked to safeguard our communities while supporting the economy during these unprecedented times.

The 2020 operational and enforcement highlights cover January 1 to October 31, 2020.

COVID-19 Repatriation Flights

In February, the Northern Ontario Region (NOR) was instrumental in the repatriation of Canadians from some of the first COVID-19 quarantined zones. CBSA frontline officers, leaders, and support staff voluntarily deployed to the Canadian Forces Base Trenton on short notice to process nearly 600 Canadians airlifted from Wuhan, China, China’s Hubei province and Tokyo, Japan. Working closely with military and public health partners, travellers were processed in an aircraft hangar, where inspection lanes were constructed and a mobile X-ray machine was set up. With support from employees across the region, the NOR successfully protected and served the returning Canadians.

Increased Marine Presence

The border restrictions imposed in March between Canada and the United States prohibits foreign national boaters from entering Canadian waters or boundary waters for discretionary (non essential) reasons. To support these border restrictions, the members of the NOR’s Regional Flexible Response Team increased marine monitoring by over 500% during the boating season.

Domestic Lane Pilot Project

On November 3, as part of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and CBSA Border Collaboration Initiative, the Domestic Lane Pilot Project was launched at the Cornwall port of entry (POE). The Cornwall POE is located in a unique mixed-traffic corridor, which means both domestic (Canada to Canada) and international (United States to Canada) traffic moves through the POE, and residents of Cornwall Island and the surrounding area may transit through the POE multiple times a day for various reasons. By designating a lane specifically for domestic travel, while maintaining public safety, the pilot project aims to create a smoother border crossing experience for all travellers at the POE, resulting in faster processing and shorter wait times for all. The domestic lane pilot adheres to all current COVID-19 related travel restrictions, and facilitates the border experience for Akwesasne community members and for the CBSA.

Firearm and Drug seizures

The NOR has continued to take action to prevent the importation of firearms and drugs. From January 1 to October 31, 2020, even with border restrictions in place, 38 firearms and prohibited firearms were seized and 129 drug seizures were completed, keeping an estimated $516,789  worth of drugs from reaching our communities.

Commercial Clearances

The NOR continues to support the Canadian economy by facilitating the entry of commercial shipments. Supporting cross-border supply chains is vital to ensure the continued flow of goods, including food and medical supplies for all Canadians.

From January 1 to October 31, 2020, the NOR processed 218,560 commercial trucks, compared to 227,968 commercial trucks processed during the same time period in 2019.

From January 1 to October 31, 2020, the NOR processed 3,548 trains, compared to 4,267 processed during the same time period in 2019. The Fort Frances port of entry, located on the western edge of the NOR’s boundary, processes approximately 20% of all Canadian rail shipments per year.

From January 1 to October 31, 2020, the NOR processed 764 commercial marine vessels, compared to 845 processed during the same time period in 2019.


"All CBSA staff in the Northern Ontario Region remain vigilant and committed to ensuring that our borders are not used for illegal activity. This last year has been unprecedented and I am tremendously proud of the outstanding work that has been done by our staff, in partnership with Indigenous communities, and with many other organizations to successfully mitigate a variety of threats to our country and its citizens, including the spread of COVID-19."

- Shawn Hoag, Regional Director General, Northern Ontario Region, Canada Border Services Agency

Quick facts

  • With its boundaries stretching from the Arctic Circle in the north, to the Manitoba border in the west, the Quebec border in the east and the outskirts of Metropolitan Toronto in the south, the Northern Ontario Region is the second largest administrative area in the Canada Border Services Agency covering almost 3 million square kilometres.

  • CBSA is working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 into Canada at all international ports of entry. PHAC is responsible for advising the CBSA of any required enhanced measures to be implemented at the Canadian border to help prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases into Canada. 

  • For information on current border measures and requirements during COVID-19, visit the CBSA website or call the CBSA’s information line (1-800-461-9999) or visit

  • Travellers are encouraged to keep up-to-date on matters related to COVID-19 by checking with the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Web page.

  • All travellers (asymptomatic and symptomatic) are required to provide their contact information using the Traveller Contact Information Form (paper or online), the ArriveCAN mobile application, or to a border services officer verbally (land mode only) and follow the 14-day quarantine or isolation requirement. All information collected in the Traveller Contact Information Form is provided to PHAC. The App is available on the Apple App and Google Play stores.

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