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An overview of the canadian border services agency

Canada Border Services Agency The Agency now collects more information on people and goods before their arrival 5. Further information on the importer and recipient of the goods, known as Pre-arrival Review System PARS data, is received for shipments across all commercial modes.

The information is intended to allow the Agency to streamline clearance for low-risk shipments and to identify high-risk shipments for further examination on arrival.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

On this basis, it determines the level of risk connected with the entry of an individual or shipment, and whether further examination is required. It identifies national security threats by analyzing advance information on arriving goods and people. For this purpose the Centre relies on automated risk assessment systems—TITAN for marine and air cargo, and the Passenger Information System PAXIS for people; searches of databases and travel patterns; and analysis of indicators and the judgment of the targeting officer.

Despite its information sharing mandate, the Centre does not have ready access to all the intelligence databases available to the Agency. While it has access to various intelligence products, it does not receive any national security intelligence products to guide its targeting activities.

The Agency told us that discussions are under way to enhance collaboration between its intelligence directorate and the National Risk Assessment Centre. The Agency has recently initiated programs and discussions with stakeholders to expand advance targeting in these modes. However, for each mode air, marine, land, rail, and post it has not systematically reviewed how it should modify the type or extent of examination to compensate for gaps in information on risk assessment prior to arrival.

In other words, where advance information is not adequate to complete a risk assessment, additional procedures or an increased level of examination may be needed. Advance targeting assesses more air travellers 5. The Agency reconciles API with incoming flight lists to determine which flights are not submitting API, and follows up with the airlines.

Canada Border Services Agency statistics 5. Because of problems in data transfer and completeness, not all passengers are assessed by PAXIS, limiting the Centre's ability to identify potential high-risk travellers before their arrival.

From this high-score list the Centre's targeters selected passengers for further examination at the airport on arrival. The Agency told us that it is currently discussing how to improve the risk scoring. However, local targeters do not always know which flights have already been assessed by the Centre, which can result in gaps or duplication of effort.

At the National Risk Assessment Centre, Toronto's Pearson International Airport, and a number of other Canadian airports, we observed officers targeting passengers on incoming flights. We found that passenger targeting units at airports did an overview of the canadian border services agency assess all incoming flights, although the Agency considered some of the airports to be high-risk ports of entry.

One control that is in place at all airports is the assessment of every passenger on their arrival at primary inspection. However, the Agency did not have risk mitigation procedures in place to compensate for flights not targeted in advance of arrival. Also, officers at primary inspection do not know which passengers or flights have been risk-assessed in advance. Legislative amendments were still in the draft stage at the time of our audit.

The Agency receives Passenger Name Record PNR data for some incoming flights and focuses its targeting to a large extent on those flights. Over the course of the audit, the Agency established teams to improve the quality of data received from airlines. Not all air and marine cargo shipments are assessed before they arrive 5. To address potential gaps in advance information, the Agency has met with shipping authorities.

However, the Agency does not consistently assess the extent of the gap between what it an overview of the canadian border services agency been told is arriving and what actually arrives. It is not tracking the timeliness of its risk assessment process for marine containers because it does not compare the time of arrival with the risk assessment date.

The Agency needs to address these gaps to ensure that it conducts risk assessments of all containers prior to their arrival. If the Agency receives information suggesting that a marine container poses a potential threat to national security, it refers the container for examination at the foreign port of origin before loading. We found that all containers identified as a national security threat by the Agency had been examined at the foreign port.

  1. For more information about this position please open the following documents. It identifies national security threats by analyzing advance information on arriving goods and people.
  2. Advance targeting assesses more air travellers 5.
  3. We found that the Agency has a variety of outreach activities to ensure ongoing compliance with advance information requirements. It identifies national security threats by analyzing advance information on arriving goods and people.
  4. The Agency told us that discussions are under way to enhance collaboration between its intelligence directorate and the National Risk Assessment Centre.
  5. Closing date for applications.

The Centre may also place "Do Not Load" orders on containers when it lacks information or suspects national security risks and can recommend containers for examination based on indications of contraband. The Agency did not keep systematic records on why loading had proceeded without authorization. A second reason is that the majority of these containers were risk-assessed before their arrival as more information had been received, thereby negating national security risks.

We looked at information the Centre used to track containers loaded without authorization in order to learn whether it had been able to discount the possibility of a national security risk before the containers arrived in Canada. We found that it had not done so. Automated advance targeting is an overview of the canadian border services agency yet working as intended for cargo shipments 5.

It does not currently penalize commercial carriers that send late or inaccurate data under the Advance Commercial Information program; however, other commercial penalties continue to apply. We found that the Agency has a variety of outreach activities to ensure ongoing compliance with advance information requirements. However, it does not monitor clients for compliance based on risk and it does not conduct more intensive examination when a non-compliant client arrives.

A higher risk should translate into a higher score. TITAN allows border services officers to view data on incoming cargo electronically, and link to databases containing information used in the risk assessment process. The result is that examination is not mandatory for marine containers and air cargo that receive high scores indicating a high risk. In the face of two urgent risks—avian flu and explosive devices—the Agency responded but had to make emergency adjustments to its risk scores.

The Agency has recognized problems with this process and is currently working to better respond to emerging threats. We found little relationship between a high score and the decision to examine a container. The local officers told us that they are not confident in using the automated risk score to select containers for examination.

They rely more on their own analysis of various databases and local knowledge. Pre-arrival targeters were not consistently documenting why they were choosing to refer certain shipments for examination and not others. Its targeters screen and select people and goods for further examination.

We found various groups across the organization, such as the National Risk Assessment Centre, Enforcement Branch, and the regions, have developed and delivered their own training for targeters. However, neither a competency profile nor a standard training program exists to ensure that targeters have the competencies and experience required to carry out this important function.

As a result, there is little overall coordination to ensure that a consistent and comprehensive approach is used to target people and goods for further examination. We note that the US Government Accountability Office found similar weaknesses in its 2004 reviews of US cargo inspection programs, and these weaknesses were subsequently addressed. The Agency has no risk management framework for pre-arrival targeting 5.

The Agency has not determined how each of the mitigating components of its pre-arrival targeting activities complement each other—including the extent of advance information, automated risk scoring, intelligence information, and the analysis and judgment of its targeters and border services officers. The Canada Border Services Agency should design and implement a risk management framework for its pre-arrival targeting activities that links the identified risk with the level of examination.

The Canada Border Services Agency's response.

Government of Canada

In addition, the Agency recently established an analytical unit at the National Risk Assessment Centre to track containers "loaded without authorization" including their subsequent assessment and examination results. As well, local officers have been advised an overview of the canadian border services agency report on the examination results of NRAC referrals.

The Agency currently has a system in place to document reasons for referral decisions, and has been working for some time on improvements. The Agency has reminded targeters to document reasons for referral decisions. Furthermore, in response to the observation in the marine mode, officers have been instructed to document the results of container examinations or the reasons for non-examination of containers referred by the National Risk Assessment Centre to confirm that risks have been mitigated.

Monitoring of this activity will be done through the Process Monitoring Framework. The Agency will analyze the results of examinations against referrals to improve future referrals of people and shipments for examination. To promote consistency and quality in the targeting process, the Canada Border Services Agency should develop a mandatory training program for all border services officers targeting advance information.

The syllabus for the training program should be based on a corporate-wide needs analysis, and its delivery should be monitored, evaluated, and reported on. For many years, the Agency has given targeting training to targeters, including intensive training given to targeters at the National Risk Assessment Centre and the Marine Centre of Expertise.

Language selection

In addition, at the Toronto airports, the Agency administers a similar training program for passenger targeting. This training has been given to targeters at other airports across the country. The Agency has started a needs analysis to identify gaps between desired performance and existing training.

  1. These agreements represent a solid development in our bi-lateral relationship and will benefit our respective trading communities as well as our respective border integrity.
  2. However, in setting the risk assessment criteria, it did not include all key partners such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Transport Canada, and Health Canada. Agency intelligence officers participate in joint force operations and pass on information to border services officers on an as-required basis, which has resulted in interdictions.
  3. All visitors arriving from or transiting through the U. Consult entry requirements by country.

The Agency will build upon its existing targeting training program to ensure officers have the necessary skill sets to effectively manage and act on information provided for advance targeting purposes.

The Agency will also monitor and evaluate delivery of its targeting training for officers, and will periodically report results. Control at ports of entry 5. It has no regular physical presence at the remaining, smaller ports of entry, which are serviced by officers from nearby ports of entry.

At air and land ports of entry, primary inspection generally involves a line of booths staffed by border services officers, who interview people seeking entry into Canada. Officers at primary inspection either decide to admit an individual into Canada or refer them to secondary inspection for more detailed examination. Emergency response plans for the border are to be updated 5.

Visas and Immigration

We found that, in the event of an incident, the Agency relies on the response plans developed by its three legacy agencies. Other than business resumptions plans now under development, the Agency has not yet developed a response plan to guide all the activities of its new integrated border services and enhanced security mandate.

The communications and coordination plan has been drafted, and the partners are now working out the details and legal authority for how each border agency would support the other. The Agency has an active exercise program, working closely with partners involved in border management issues. It will address the recommendation to update emergency response plans to reflect the integrated border services. The Agency has worked closely with US Customs and Border Protection to develop a communication and coordination plan that incorporates a quick exchange of pertinent information between the two agencies, as well as the trade community, to expedite the implementation of business resumption efforts and ensure continuity of operations at an overview of the canadian border services agency of entry during an emergency.

The processes outlined in the anticipated manual build on the existing processes and will continue to be exercised by the Agency under its continuing exercise program. The Agency's intelligence directorate conducts a border risk assessment of its border operations every three years. Under this process, the Agency assesses the risks of smuggling contraband, such as proceeds of crime, child pornography, and illicit tobacco or drugs.

2007 October Report of the Auditor General of Canada

The information is assessed and ranked by commodity and by mode of transport. However, the risk assessment is not complete, since it includes neither risks of irregular or illegal migration of people, nor the movement of food, plants, and animals, now under the Agency's broader mandate. The Agency began to address these risks, which it plans to include in the next version of its border risk assessment.

This is combined with the results of the border risk assessment to categorize the ports of an overview of the canadian border services agency as high- medium- or low-risk.

Other risk, such as infectious diseases, where the Agency performs activities on behalf of other government departments, were not included in either the border or port risk assessments. As noted, these assessments are completed every two or three years, meaning that the Agency's risk assessment may reflect risks that were present a few years ago, but not today or next year. The Agency told us that its monthly intelligence updates form a key part of its risk assessment process.

As part of updating its port and border risk assessments, the Agency consults with many of its key partners, such as law enforcement and international customs agencies. However, in setting the risk assessment criteria, it did not include all key partners such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Transport Canada, and Health Canada.