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Canada introduces legislation to establish a new border agency

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The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to establish the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

“With the creation of the Canada Border Services Agency within the new portfolio of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Government of Canada is adopting an integrated approach to border management to facilitate the flow of people and goods while enhancing the safety and security of Canadians,” said the Honourable Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The CBSA brings together key border security and intelligence functions previously carried out by three Government of Canada organizations. As an integrated border management agency, the CBSA facilitates legitimate cross-border traffic and supports economic development while stopping people and goods that pose a potential risk to Canada. Its role is to manage the nation’s borders by administering and enforcing approximately 90 domestic acts and regulations, as well as international agreements that govern trade and travel.

“The CBSA’s mission is to manage the access of people and goods to and from Canada to ensure the safety and economic prosperity of all Canadians,” added Minister McLellan. “To accomplish this goal, the CBSA works in close collaboration with its partners, both domestically and internationally.”

The CBSA is the first line of defence in managing the movement of people and goods into and out of Canada and, therefore, is an integral component of Canada’s National Security Policy. All people and goods entering Canada, whether by air, land or sea, must report to the CBSA at a port of entry. Operating at 1,369 service points across Canada and 39 locations abroad, the CBSA serves more than 170,000 commercial importers and approximately 92 million travelers each year.

With this Bill, the Government of Canada proposes to formally establish the CBSA as a corporate body and define its mandate, powers and authorities. The Bill’s key objective is to implement the Government’s decision of December 12, 2003, to create a border services agency. Establishing the CBSA as a legal entity is a government machinery change aimed at vesting in the CBSA the same powers and authorities that existed in the three legacy organizations (the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency). The Bill also includes consequential amendments to various statutes to reflect changes, which are generally of an administrative nature.