The number of border guards’ misconduct investigations increased sharply last year

Although the pandemic has led to a sharp decline in international travel, the number of investigations into misconduct by border officials has increased last year.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) stated that it conducted 215 “founded” investigations of its officials last year, up from 171 in 2019. (CBSA stated that if the “aspect” of the complaint is found to be “founded”, the complaint is considered “founded.” Effective.”)

This increase came after border restrictions imposed to contain the pandemic resulted in a significant reduction in travel to and from Canada. Last year, the total number of recorded air and land trips in and out of the country only exceeded 25 million, a far cry from the nearly 94 million recorded in 2019.

The agency pointed out that not all cases of misconduct involve travel.

CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy (Rebecca Purdy) said: “The number of cases changes year by year, and it is important to note that not all misconduct is related to public complaints or international travel.”

The National President of the Customs and Immigration Union, Jean-Pierre Fortin (Jean-Pierre Fortin) also pointed out that in the past year, some ports of entry had still high passenger flow.

He said: “Despite the decline in travel, you will remember that in the months of 2020, there were a large number of passengers at the airport, and the land borders (such as Windsor) hardly changed, especially in terms of commercial activities.”

Over 200 investigations conducted last year resulted in 170 police officers being reprimanded, most of which were temporarily suspended.

According to information access requests obtained by CBC News, only 8 CBSA officials have been fired since 2018.

On March 15, 2020, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials wear protective masks when checking the passports of passengers arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport. (Theresa Barbieri/Reuters)

An official was fired for interfering in the immigration process. According to documents obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he was fired after an internal investigation discovered that he was trying to help immigration lawyers by illegally removing the flag from the client’s CBSA file and issuing a temporary residence permit.

Others were fired for belittling customers, making inappropriate comments to colleagues, abusing power, and sharing private CBSA information.

The border agency, with approximately 14,000 employees, stated that discipline is managed on a case-by-case basis and based on the severity of the allegations and mitigating and aggravating factors.

“CBSA attaches great importance to public complaints. For all complaints from the public, there is a process to ensure that documents are allocated to the appropriate area of ??the agency for full review and action,” Purdy said.

“All complaints received by CBSA are handled in an efficient, professional and fair manner. Complaints alleging employee misconduct are reviewed and investigated. If the employee’s misconduct is confirmed, corrective measures may be taken if necessary.”

Call for independent supervision

Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Refugee Council, said there may be more cases of abuse with nowhere to go.

She said: “The reason for this is that people who do not have permanent status in Canada are usually very reluctant to complain because they are afraid it may be against them.” “And there are signs that it does happen in some cases. This situation.

“Sometimes people get deported. So if problematic behavior occurs during the deportation process — for example, if someone physically abuses the deported person — but then that person is deported from Canada, they are not even here . It’s really difficult for them to make a complaint.”

Dench has been promoting independent external supervision of CBSA, which is the only public safety agency in Canada that does not have an independent supervision agency. She called the current setting “invalid”.

“This is not surprising, because you are complaining about the agency you want to take on the task. So, of course, they will review it to protect themselves,” she said.

“The experience of our members. They support marginalized people, refugees, people who have no status in Canada, and usually racialized people. We see that the CBSA has tremendous power over the lives of these people. In this case, the total It is possible to abuse this power.”

A bill that extended the duties of the civil agency that handles public complaints against the RCMP to the Canadian Border Services Agency failed to get the Senate’s approval before the end of the last parliamentary session.

The federal government has not yet reintroduced it.

CBSA said that so far this year, it has initiated 41 investigations, resulting in three terminations.

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