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Canada Border Services Agency Prairie region releases operational and enforcement highlights from 2021

Incidents reported from North Portal and Northgate this year

The Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) Prairie Region has released operational and enforcement highlights, covering the period from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31.

Officers made a number of arrests and seizures during the past year, including a few in southeast Saskatchewan.

In February, at the Northgate port of entry, a U.S. traveller sought entry for tourism despite COVID-19 restrictions being in place, and was arrested when officers found two undeclared handguns in a duffle bag. Database checks revealed the traveller also had a previous conviction, making the person further ineligible to enter Canada.

The traveller paid a penalty for failing to declare the guns and returned to the U.S. without them.

Officers at North Portal were processing a Canadian resident who was returning from the U.S. with a horse in April. The traveller was not truthful about the horse’s origins, then showed a false receipt with a much lower value than what was paid. These actions resulted in the traveller paying C$17,350 in penalties, when they would have only paid about C$800 in GST if the traveller had provided a truthful declaration from the start.

Then in August, CBSA officers at North Portal were conducting a routine examination of a U.S. traveller who was in-transit to Alaska when they found four handguns, two prohibited assault-style rifles, three non-restricted long guns and 40 prohibited magazines in the traveller’s truck.

Officers arrested the traveller, returning only the non-restricted guns, and issued C$7,000 in penalties before allowing the traveller to return to the U.S.

In October, officers at the North Portal port of entry conducted an offload examination of a semi-truck trailer. Their search uncovered 220 knives and 22 brass knuckles that are classified as prohibited in Canada. As these items were not properly declared, they were seized with no terms of release.

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 District. There are also three divisions (Intelligence and Enforcement Operations, Trade Operations, and Corporate, Programs and Integration Management).

While traveller volumes were again lower in 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, officers in the Prairie Region still processed approximately 486,087 commercial trucks and 8,937,373 courier shipments, as well as 1,040,075 travellers.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, the region also released 2,546,040 commercial shipments.

The CBSA collects customs duties as a way to protect certain sectors of the Canadian economy.

In April, the Prairie Region Border Information Service reached the significant milestone of providing service to one million callers and responding to over 76,000 ‘Contact Us’ emails since the implementation of COVID-19 border measures in March 2020.