CBSA Greater Toronto Area Region: Operational and enforcement highlights from 2022


16 flights of Afghan refugees at Toronto Pearson International Airport
CBSA’s GTA Region welcomed a total of 16 flights of Afghan refugees at Toronto Pearson International Airport (TPIA) landing a total of 5,081 passengers.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Region released operational and enforcement highlights covering the period from January 1 to October 31, 2022.

The GTA Region is home to approximately 2,200 employees who support over 340 points of services in a geographical area that includes eight of the most populous cities in Ontario.

The Region is home to the agency’s largest air, cargo, mail processing, and trade operations in the country. The Region’s primary point of entry is the Toronto Pearson International Airport (TPIA), which is Canada’s largest and busiest international airport, in both size and volume, and serves as a key portal for both travellers and goods entering the country.

Building a modern border

As part of its Traveller Modernization Initiative, the CBSA has developed new tools and technology to deliver a better and smoother border experience for travellers arriving at Canadian airports. 

In 2022, the Agency introduced electronic gates (eGates) as an alternate device for self-service primary processing giving travellers another option to present their customs and immigration declaration.  On June 1, 2022 an eGate pilot was launched at Toronto Pearson International Airport in CBSA’s Primary Inspection Hall located in Terminal 1.  Following the successful pilot, the full eGate deployment was made available to travellers in the summer with the installation of a total of 12 eGate devices.  On August 3, CBSA hosted a media event for a demonstration of the eGates at Toronto Pearson International Airport  (TPIA).

Welcoming travellers to Canada

From January 1 to October 31, 2022, the GTA Region facilitated the arrival of close to nine million travellers through Toronto Pearson International Airport (TPIA), which accounts for 18.14 percent of national traveller volume (all modes) and 46.2 percent of the national airport volume.  Billy Bishop Airport welcomed 291,952 passengers.

As part of a Government of Canada rescue mission, CBSA’s GTA Region welcomed a total of 16 flights of Afghan refugees at Toronto Pearson International Airport (TPIA) landing a total of 5,081 passengers

Furthermore, since its inception in March, Canada’s Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program welcomed over 40,000 Ukrainian nationals at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Supporting the economy

Border Services Officers (BSOs) working at the CBSA Commercial Operations District in the GTA Region, processed over 5.1 million commercial shipments into Canada from January 1 and October 31, 2022, and were responsible for clearing approximately 27.84 percent of Canada’s air cargo shipments.

The CBSA Trade Program in the GTA remains committed in its efforts to contribute to economic stability.  In 2022, the Program closed 267 verification cases, assessing a total of $129,384,020 in duties, taxes, interest and penalties.

One notable case involved the valuation verification on a company that imports bicycles, parts, accessories and clothing. It was determined that the importer had several additions to the price paid or payable, including costs for distribution centres and fulfilling orders. There were also samples of the undervaluation of select goods. As a result of the verification, $3,470,025 in duties, GST, Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), interest and Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPS) were assessed against the company.

Protecting Canadians

The CBSA’s GTA Region is determined in its role to facilitate the entry of legitimate travel and trade, while protecting the safety and security of Canadians.  Between January 1 and October 31, 2022, GTA officers made 13,723 seizures including suspected narcotics; weapons, including firearms and replica firearms; food/plant/animal and general commodities across our airport, cargo, and mail processing operations.  The GTA Region conducted 50.5 percent of all enforcement actions completed by the CBSA.


Unlawful organizations have continued their attempts to smuggle prohibited items and contraband into the country.

Between January 1 and October 31, 2022, there were over 4,000 seizures of various kinds of narcotics in the GTA Region.  Examples of notable seizures that took place in the GTA Region during this period:

  • BSOs working at Toronto Pearson International Airport Commercial Operations District intercepted and seized 4.32 kg of suspected methamphetamine concealed in an export shipment.
  • CBSA officers at Toronto Pearson International Airport Passenger Operations District seized a shipment of over 67 kg of dried Catha edulis (Khat), a designated controlled substance in Canada.
  • BSOs at the Toronto International Mail Processing Centre seized over 43 kg of suspected cannabis destined for the UK.

The GTA Region enforcement activities play a major role in stopping dangerous goods from entering into Canada. In January 2022, GTA Region Intelligence-led enforcement resulted in the successful interception of the largest shipment of cocaine in CBSA history totaling 1.584 tonnes of cocaine. This enforcement was driven by Project OBANEBERRY, a joint project with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Through extensive intelligence file development and analysis, GTA Intelligence developed critical, actionable intelligence targets. One of the targeted shipments arrived in the Atlantic Region, and was examined at the port of St. John, New Brunswick. Atlantic Region Intelligence and Port of Entry teams were critical in successfully locating the concealed narcotics. The seizure was achieved over a period of multiple days due to the sophisticated and challenging concealment. Once complete, the GTA Intelligence section jointly arranged and participated in the successful controlled delivery of this shipment to Brantford Ontario that resulted in the RCMP arresting the subject of interest.  In November 2022, the subject plead guilty and sentencing is yet to be determined.


Firearms smuggling is a serious criminal offence, and the Agency has a range of measures in place to combat it.  This year, GTA Region BSOs seized 4,733 replica firearms, 12,710 prohibited weapons, and 503 firearms. 

In January 2022, multiple firearms parts were seized by Southern Ontario Region (SOR) officers at a facility in Windsor, Ontario. These seized items were referred to the Greater Toronto Area Region’s (GTAR) Intelligence and Investigations Operations Division (IIOD) for further investigation as the importer resided in York Region. Initial investigative steps identified that the importer had a lifetime ban from possessing firearms and had an extensive criminal history. Search Warrants for buildings and vehicles in possession of the main target were authorized by a Justice of the Peace. 

GTAR IIOD executed the search warrants in February 2022 where the following items were identified and seized:

  • Ten (10) firearms (consisting of four (4) handguns, two (2) bolt action rifles, two (2) semi-automatic assault rifles and two (2) shotguns) 
  • two (2) suppressors
  • twenty two (22) over capacity magazines
  • over three thousand six hundred (3,600) rounds of ammunition
  • several 3D printers (with firearms parts that were printed using these devices)
  • over $11,000 CAD, $11,000 in gold coins/bars and $70,000 in silver coins/bars.

Shortly after these seizures, the main target was arrested by GTAR IIOD Criminal Investigators and charged with approximately 60 firearms related offences under the Customs Act and the Criminal Code.

In October, GTA Commercial Operations BSOs identified a package destined for an address in Woodstock, ON that was suspected of having prohibited devices. After this package was intercepted, investigators from the GTA Criminal Investigation Section and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) obtained and executed a search warrant that led to the discovery of several firearms parts, devices and tools utilized to manufacture “ghost guns”, which are un-serialized and untraceable firearms.  “Ghost Guns” can be manufactured at home, purchased and sold online or elsewhere without government oversight.  Law enforcement also seized three 3D printers – one of which was in the process of printing parts needed to build “ghost guns.”  A fully assembled and loaded “ghost gun”, two 3D printed frames as well as some morphine pills, cocaine, stolen property and cash were also seized during the execution of the search warrant.

Collaborating with Indigenous communities

In April of 2022, a delegation of 130 First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders travelled to the Vatican, where Pope Francis issued a formal apology for the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada by the Catholic Church.

Due to the sensitive nature of the travel, GTA Region’s Corporate Programs and Integration Management Division created an action plan to facilitate their return to Canada. This involved a gate greeting at the aircraft by members of the Region’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Team and the CBSA Indigenous Affairs Secretariat, where the delegation was escorted through the customs process to ensure there would be no issues or delays in processing.  As the delegation travelled with cultural property and sacred goods, it was ensured that all the necessary permit requirements were met and completed ahead of time, eliminating the requirement for CBSA to endorse any documentation upon export or re-importation as it was completed in advance of the arrival.

The GTA’s Regional Indigenous Employees’ Circle has been active in its role as a support mechanism and community touchstone for Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies over the past year.  Working in partnership with the Region’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and the Anti-Racism Committee, the Circle continues to strive to bring awareness of the Indigenous experience within and outside of the CBSA, through open discussions held monthly, and participation in events marking days that are significant to the Indigenous communities. 

In 2022, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation was marked by a series of events including traditional ceremonies performed by BSO (Ret.) Elder John Keeshig and Elder Chastity Jenner, who were gracious enough to share their knowledge of traditional practices with GTA staff at two different CBSA sites located in the Region.

In March, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, CBSA GTA Region members of the Circle and non-Indigenous allies gathered in solidarity at the Inuit Inukshuk located at Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

The Circle is committed to establishing a safe space for Indigenous employees at all levels through meaningful action and open communication on this important path toward reconciliation. 

Associated links


Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency

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