CBSA Prairie Region operational and enforcement highlights from 2022


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

The Prairie Region is home to 34 land ports of entry, four marine reporting sites, and 26 airports. The region consists of four districts (Central Alberta; Southern Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan; Central Manitoba, Central Saskatchewan, and Northwest Territories; and Southern Manitoba) and three divisions (Intelligence and Enforcement Operations; Trade Operations; and Corporate, Programs and Integration Management) that work in tandem to achieve the Agency’s mandate in the Prairie Region.

Building a modern border

The CBSA actively explores ways to modernize border infrastructure to help people and goods move across the border more seamlessly and securely. Modernization initiatives employ new digital tools and technologies to improve and expedite travel and trade while enabling the CBSA to better address global pressures such as rising traveller volumes, health and safety issues, economic and migratory trends, and security threats from terrorism and organized crime. 

In October, Advance CBSA Declaration was implemented at the Winnipeg James A. Richardson International Airport. This optional new feature in ArriveCAN enables air travellers to complete their customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours before arriving in Canada. Early usage data has shown that Advance Declaration reduces the amount of time a traveller spends at a kiosk by roughly one third, which can potentially save hours of processing time each day.

Also in October, the CBSA celebrated the completion of a $26.4 million multi-year infrastructure project at the North Portal port of entry in Saskatchewan. The upgrade strengthens a major supply chain as North Portal is Canada’s 10th busiest port for commercial traffic, and will increase efficiency for both trade and travel while also enabling CBSA officers and staff to perform their duties more safely and effectively.

Welcoming travellers into Canada

The Prairie Region processed 3,596,364 travellers, including returning Canadians as well as international visitors and refugees, at our ports of entry between January 1 and October 31.

As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide permanent or temporary protection to individuals fleeing conflict or persecution in Afghanistan and Ukraine, officers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba processed fifteen flights composed solely of people from those countries. Officers have welcomed 3,516 individuals from Afghanistan, and 851 from Ukraine.

Supporting the economy

Border services officers in the Prairie Region processed approximately 469,901 commercial trucks, and 10,685,930 courier shipments. From January 1 to October 31, the region also released 2,679,343 commercial shipments.

The CBSA collects customs duties as a way to protect certain sectors of the Canadian economy. The CBSA also uses Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) to issue monetary penalties to commercial clients for violating CBSA's trade and border legislation, such as failure to pay duties. From January 1 through November 14, 2022, the Prairie Region issued 440 separate penalties totaling $853,725.

One example of a violation that resulted in penalties occurred when an importer of cosmetics was undervaluing goods by approximately 60%. Adjustments to the value of goods for four calendar years resulted in $4,907,115 in duties and taxes assessed including $25,250 in penalties. Further classification errors also resulted in an additional $134,528 in tariffs.

Another situation occurred when monitoring revealed a classification error by an importer of artificial sweetening products. As a result, a total of $230,268 in duties, taxes, and interest was assessed on the samples verified, and the importer was directed to submit further corrections. The client was also issued Administrative Monetary Penalties of $11,000. The total revenue and penalties assessed for the case was $1,967,548.

Protecting Canadians

The Prairie Region helped to protect Canadians by preventing illegal weapons and illicit substances from entering our communities. Over the first ten months of 2022, officers seized 58 firearms at various ports of entry, and also partnered with other law enforcement agencies on investigations that stopped criminals who imported or manufactured illegal weapons such as ghost guns. There were also 1536 seizures of illicit narcotics at our borders.

For instance, in February 2022, CBSA Criminal Investigations partnered with the Regina Police Service Crime Reduction Team in the search of a residence following a two-month long investigation into the illegal importation of prohibited devices by a Regina resident. Investigators located and seized 3D printers, Restricted and Non-Restricted Firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, prohibited weapons, prohibited devices, and 3D-printed firearm kits and components.

In spite of increased travel volumes in March and April when border measures were reduced, officers at the Coutts port of entry seized a number of prohibited or undeclared weapons in different enforcements, including one shotgun, two handguns, five rifles, brass knuckles, and a crossbow, along with 14 prohibited magazines. In addition, CBSA officers seized a variety of narcotics from travellers in different incidents, including cannabis, amphetamines, and cocaine.

Then in June 2022, the CBSA and Winnipeg Police Service executed a search warrant at a residence in Winnipeg following an interception of illegal firearm parts by the CBSA’s mail processing centre in Mississauga. Officers found three 3D-printed handgun receivers and numerous additional firearms parts. WPS later charged one person with 12 Criminal Code offences including weapons manufacturing and identity theft. The individual was also charged under the Customs Act for participating in or consenting to the making of false statements.

On August 29, Prairie Region CBSA’s Criminal Investigations Unit participated in a controlled delivery and search warrant execution with the Edmonton Police Service that resulted in a significant seizure of drugs and weapons. Some of the seized contraband included: 1.7 kg of fentanyl, 164 grams of methamphetamine, 318 grams of cocaine, three loaded firearms, three pairs of brass knuckles and a stun gun.

Collaborating with Indigenous communities

Throughout 2022, the Prairie Region actively demonstrated commitment to the Government of Canada's Reconciliation efforts, and engaged in activities that reflected the Agency's commitment to collaboration and engagement with Indigenous communities.

For example, on May 25 in Calgary, border services officers, with the assistance of the PRA Regional Indigenous Affairs Advisor, facilitated the clearance and repatriation of regalia and other ceremonial items that belonged to Chief Crowfoot of the Siksika Nation. CBSA worked with the Siksika Nation, to hold a special homecoming ceremony at the Calgary International Airport.

 In April the Prairie Region was heavily involved in the work to support the Indigenous delegation visit to Rome to meet with Pope Francis. Then, in July, the CBSA facilitated the Pope’s entry to Canada to deliver a formal apology to Indigenous Peoples for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system while also ensuring that officers were prepared to process Indigenous visitors to Canada for the events.

In October, the region unveiled three art pieces by Michael Lonechild, a local Cree artist, at the grand opening of the upgraded North Portal port of entry.

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Media Relations
Canada Border Services Agency

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