Government of Canada takes further action with domestic and US partners to combat illicit firearms
March 31, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario
The Government of Canada is committed to keeping illicit firearms from crossing our border and entering our communities. Today, the government announced that it is taking another step forward by asking the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to lead efforts to create a joint Canada-United States (US) cross-border task force to address gun smuggling and trafficking.
This announcement marks the first steps to deliver on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden’s commitment to explore the creation of a cross-border task force. The new task force will ensure that law enforcement partners on both sides of the border benefit from shared intelligence, information, and partnerships, so that they can detect and intercept the illegal movement of firearms at the border.
To kickstart the task force, the CBSA has had initial discussions with partners to outline the scope and structure of the task force. The CBSA will leverage its strong working relationships with both Canadian and US partners, including the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and various Canadian police forces.
This announcement is the latest in a number of firearms-related initiatives that the CBSA has prioritized over the past 18 months. In early 2020, the CBSA’s Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Region established the Firearms Interdiction Team (FIT), which verifies all commercially imported firearms in the GTA to ensure that only legitimate and authorized firearms and parts enter Canada. The team’s activities have resulted in several significant seizures that have disrupted dangerous criminal networks, and kept our communities safer.
Together with its US partners, the Government of Canada remains committed to tackling illegal cross-border travel and trade, while ensuring that the movement of essential workers and goods continues unimpeded. The CBSA’s efforts to launch this task force, as well as its ongoing work to address firearms smuggling, contribute to the safety of both Canada and the US.
The CBSA will share information and next steps as they become available.
“This new task force will deal with gun smuggling on both sides of our border. It will further use the skills and expertise of law enforcement to keep our communities safe. Our partnership with the United States and the sharing of information will be key to our success in keeping illegal guns out of Canada.”
· The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Security and Emergency Preparedness
Weapons, including firearms and firearms parts, are high-risk commodities and their interdiction is a top CBSA enforcement priority.
The CBSA and its domestic and international law enforcement partners work together to prevent illicit firearms and weapons from reaching our communities.
If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please contact the CBSA Border Watch Toll free Line at 1-888-502-9060.
Travellers are encouraged to leave their firearms at home when seeking entry to Canada. However, travellers with firearms must declare them to the CBSA officer at the first opportunity and meet import regulations.
Travellers who do not declare their firearms upon arrival can face arrest, seizure, monetary penalties, and criminal prosecution. Failing to declare firearms can also make visitors inadmissible to enter Canada.
The Government of Canada recently announced Bill C-21, which proposes new firearms measures to combat crime and increase public safety. These measures are part of a broader firearms strategy to increase public safety and build upon previous legislation and policies already in place. This includes the ban on assault-style firearms, significant funding to provinces and territories to combat gun and gang violence, and investments in border security to tackle firearms smuggling.
Media Relations, Canada Border Services Agency
Media Line: 613-957-6500 or 1-877-761-5945
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