Legislation introduced to establish independent review of the Canada Border Services Agency
January 27, 2020
The Government of Canada is committed to providing border services that are world class and worthy of the trust of Canadians.
Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts to establish an independent review function of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
By providing Canadians with an independent and trusted review body, Bill C-3 will ensure the public can continue to expect consistent, fair and equal treatment when receiving services at the border.
The Bill proposes to create the Public Complaints and Review Commission (PCRC). This body would incorporate, strengthen and build upon the existing Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), which is currently the review agency for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The new PCRC would handle reviews and complaints for both the CBSA and the RCMP.
Complaints from the public about the conduct of CBSA officers and the quality of services provided would be addressed to the new PCRC. It would also have the ability to review, on its own initiative or at the request of the Minister, any non-national security activities of the CBSA. This will bring Canada in line with peer countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
“Ensuring that people have an independent, trusted review body for comments or complaints ensures the public can continue to expect consistent, fair and equal treatment when receiving services at the border. The creation of the new Public Complaints and Review Commission will build on our commitment to continue providing world class border services worthy of the trust of Canadians.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“The CRCC is well positioned to take on oversight of the CBSA given its current responsibilities for oversight of the RCMP. I look forward to working with stakeholders to advance this important initiative.”
- Michelaine Lahaie, Chairperson of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
On May 7, 2019, Bill C-98, An Act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, was introduced in Parliament. However, the bill did not complete passage through Parliament when Parliament dissolved in fall 2019.
The Government of Canada has strengthened accountability for national security by passing legislation to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) and create a new expert review body, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency (NSIRA). These bodies provide accountability for the national security work of all departments and agencies, including the CBSA.
While the CBSA is already reviewed by various independent boards, tribunals and the courts, there is no external review body for CBSA’s other functions, unlike other public safety agencies in Canada.
In 2018-19, CBSA employees interacted with over 96 million travelers and processed over 19 million commercial shipments and over 54 million courier shipments.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Public Safety Canada
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