CBSA Prairie Region: Operational and Enforcement Highlights from 2023

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Prairie Region today released operational and enforcement highlights covering the period from January 1 to October 31, 2023.

The Prairie Region is home to 34 land ports of entry, four marine reporting sites, and 6 airports. The region consists of four districts across three provinces and one territory, as well as three divisions covering Intelligence and Enforcement Operations; Trade Operations; and Corporate, Programs and Integration Management. The districts and divisions work in tandem to achieve the Agency’s mandate in the Prairie Region.

Welcoming travellers into Canada

The Prairie Region welcomed 5,584,472 travellers, including returning Canadians as well as international visitors and refugees, between January 1 and October 31, nearly 2 million more travellers than last year.

The Prairie Region processed 953 refugee claims between January 1 and October 31, 2023. In addition, as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide permanent or temporary protection to individuals fleeing conflict or persecution, border services officers welcomed 27,748 Ukrainians and 1,918 Afghans.

In 2023, the Prairie Region also processed the arrival of international firefighters who helped combat unprecedented wildfires in the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. In total, 1,547 firefighters from several countries were processed urgently so they could make their way to support local efforts.

Building a modern border

New digital tools and technologies improve and expedite travel and trade while enabling the CBSA to better address global pressures such as rising traveller volumes, health and safety issues, economic and migratory trends, and security threats from terrorism and organized crime. 

This year, the CBSA implemented Advance Declaration at the Calgary International Airport and the Edmonton International Airport. In total, 219,667 travellers in the Prairie Region used this new technology to speed up and simplify their entry into Canada. In addition, the NEXUS program resumed operation this year. The Prairie Region processed 237,594 Nexus travellers.

Supporting a growing economy

Border services officers in the Prairie Region processed approximately 463,110 commercial trucks and 8,351,119 courier shipments. From January 1 to October 31, the region also released 3,193,995 commercial shipments.

The collection of duties and taxes helps protect sectors of Canada’s economy. When commercial importers violate trade and border legislation, the CBSA issues penalties as a means to deter non-compliance. This helps insure import requirements are being met, and creates a level playing field for all Canadian businesses.

The region closed 88 verification cases between January 1 and October 31, assessing a total of $14,709,585 in duties, taxes, interest and penalties. During this period, the region also completed 65 compliance interventions with new assessment tools, resulting in further assessments of $1,871,905 in duties and taxes.

Protecting Canadians

The Prairie Region protects Canadians by preventing illegal weapons and illicit substances from entering our communities, and also safeguards Canada’s environment. This year, Prairie Region border services officers were responsible for:

  • 189 weapon seizures. This includes 77 firearms, 241 miscellaneous parts for firearms or magazines, 249 illegal centrifugal knives, and 155 other prohibited weapons.
  • 1767 seizures of illegal narcotics. This includes 866 kg of methamphetamine, 101 kg of cocaine, 307 kg of illegal cannabis, and 17 kg of opioids

The region seized $1,944,681 in currency with $192,698 suspected to be the proceeds of crime.

In 2023, there were 885 occurrences of Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties being issued, amounting to $433,250 in penalties.

Collaborating with Indigenous communities

The CBSA is committed to the Government of Canada’s Reconciliation efforts, and worked in collaboration with Indigenous communities throughout the Prairie Region.

For instance, in May 2023, two delegations of First Nations arrived at Calgary International Airport with cultural items that were returning home after decades abroad. Border services officers and the Regional Indigenous Affairs Advisor met each delegation and facilitated the return of delegation members, and the clearance of repatriated items. On May 10, the Tsuut’ina First Nation brought home a sacred medicine bundle that was recovered from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). On May 17, a delegation from Gitxaala First Nation also returned, bringing back a cedar headdress from the Hood Museum in New Hampshire.

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