CBSA Quebec Region: Operational and Enforcement Highlights from 2023

Today, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Quebec Region, published the highlights of its enforcement and operational activities covering the period from January 1 to October 31, 2023.  

Quebec Region has 87 points of service, including 32 land ports of entry (five designated commercial), nine marine ports of entry (including the ports of Montréal and of the City of Québec), six rail sites, 25 international and secondary airports, and one international mail centre. These are distributed along the 813 km border with the United States (the longest shared border in Canada). The CBSA in the Quebec Region also monitors ships along 2,500 km of marine coastline.

The Region has teams responsible for investigating violations of the law (customs and immigration) and teams of trade experts.

Welcoming travellers into Canada

From January 1 to October 31, 2023, the Quebec Region welcomed 11,511,620 international travellers at all ports of entry combined, an increase of 45% from last year.

The Quebec Region also processed 39,540 refugee claims during this same period.

Supporting a growing economy

427,008 commercial truck crossings were processed in Quebec since the beginning of the year.

7,673,744 postal packages and 1,677,051 commercial shipments were processed in the Region from January 1 to October 31, 2023.

546 seizures of luxury goods were conducted in 2023 for a value of $2,941,212, an increase of 14.9% from 2022. For example, on September 3, officers of the Travellers Section at Montréal-Trudeau Airport seized several undeclared luxury items with an approximate value of $134,000, including two handbags worth $40,740 each. 

$38,257,566.63 in unpaid duties and taxes were recovered by the Trade Operations Division (TOD) in Quebec during 257 trade audits completed since January 1.

Furthermore, during the year, the TOD declined adjustment claims for tariff treatment from a fertilizer importer from Russia, in accordance with the March 2, 2022 Order in Council, by which Canada withdrew Russia’s most-favoured-nation tariff benefits. Had the tariff treatment correction been accepted, the importer would have been issued a reimbursement of approximately $13.4 M.

On June 9, at the Quai Richelieu, officers intercepted a traveller who had not paid $43,313.53 in taxes for a boat purchased the previous year in the United States. The payment had to be made on the spot.

Building a modern border

Last year, dedicated lanes were implemented at Montréal-Trudeau and Jean-Lesage airports to speed up the processing of travellers who submitted their customs and immigration information in advance. This year, 839,408 travellers have used the Advance Declaration to expedite their border crossings at these airports.

Protecting Canadians

876 firearms, weapons and weapons parts were seized in the Region in 2023, an increase of 5% compared to 2022. Since January 1, the CBSA Quebec Region has also seized 127 prohibited devices. The following are a few examples:  

  • On May 27, 25 prohibited high-capacity magazines that were not declared by a traveller were seized at Stanstead. The traveller was fined $500. 
  • On July 21, officers at Woburn seized two firearms, a prohibited knife, a prohibited replica firearm, six high-capacity magazines and 100 rounds of ammunition from a traveller. The traveller was refused entry to Canada, and a $3,500 penalty was imposed.
  • On April 7, seven fuel filters that could be used as suppressors/silencers for firearms were seized at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle.
  • On September 7, two firearms were seized at the Herdman port of entry. The traveller returned to the United States.

Additionally, 4,475 drug seizures were carried out in the Region this year. In 2022, 4,469 seizures were made. Among those made in 2023:  

  • 3,028 seizures of cannabis and hashish.
  • On February 1, 1.19 kg of cocaine was found in a commercial marine shipment by officers of the Montréal Long Room. The drugs were handed over to the RCMP.  
  • On April 11, 1,254.4 kg of cannabis buds were discovered in 73 cardboard boxes in a container by officers of the Montréal Marine and Rail Services. The drugs were transferred to the RCMP.
  • Two seizures of opium were conducted on May 1 and 4 by the Montréal Marine and Rail Services totalling 402.9 kg. The drugs were discovered by detector dogs in both cases.
  • On May 25 and 26, 9.6 kg of methamphetamine intended for export was seized at the Léo-Blanchette Mail Processing Centre. The goods were intended for shipment to Australia.
  • On June 2, 10.95 kg of ketamine was seized at the same mail processing centre. The drugs were arriving from Spain.
  • On August 24, 109.87 kg of cannabis intended for export was seized by the Commercial Sector officers at Montréal-Trudeau airport. The drugs were intended for shipment to the Netherlands.

From January 1 to October 31, 2023, 315 currency seizures were carried out in the region, for a total of $5,492,662.94. Including $106,484 in currency, that was likely the proceeds of crime, seized on September 12, at Montréal-Trudeau airport.

Additional enforcement examples

On January 24, the Weapons Smuggling Integrated Enforcement Team (WSIET), Criminal Investigations Section, CBSA Quebec Region, filed 26 charges against Jeannot Duchesne, a resident of Joliette, regarding the importation and possession of prohibited weapons under the Customs Act and the Criminal Code, as well as one charge for possession of illegal cannabis under the Cannabis Act. This concluded an investigation that had begun in January 2022 further to an interception of several packages, primarily from China, containing prohibited weapons and shipped to Mr. Duchesne. In June 2023, the WSIET was informed that a package intercepted and addressed to Mr. Duchesne contained a prohibited weapon. A second investigation file was opened on October 13, 2023 and concluded with the laying of 15 additional charges in relation to possession of a restricted firearm with readily accessible ammunition, possession of prohibited weapons, the importation of prohibited weapons, careless storage, and breach of an order prohibiting the possession of firearms, prohibited weapons, and ammunition. The matter is still before the courts.

On August 1, border services officers at the Armstrong port of entry arrested two travellers after discovering fraudulent permanent resident and social insurance cards in their vehicle and personal belongings. Currency with a value of over $10,000 was also seized in violation of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. A news release on this subject was issued on August 22.

Collaborating with Indigenous communities

On February 11, 2023, the Montréal-Trudeau airport was the historic site for the repatriation of a medicinal mask and a tortoiseshell rattle to the Tuscarora Nation. These objects were taken from the Tuscarora Nation 200 years ago and had been kept at the Musée d’Ethnographie Genève (MEG) in Geneva, Switzerland. Members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy were present for the repatriation. Numerous partners participated in the facilitation and coordination, including delegates of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, airport personnel, the CBSA Indigenous Affairs Secretariat, the MEG and other Government of Canada departments.

Protecting the environment

On April 6, border services officers at Montréal-Trudeau airport seized 23 kg of pork and chicken meat discovered in a traveller’s checked baggage. The goods were found by a detector dog. The CBSA issued 504 administrative and monetary penalties related to agriculture and agrifood in 2023.

In August, while examining a commercial shipment, officers at the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle port of entry, Commercial Sector, discovered a spotted lanternfly (an insect native to Asia). They immediately contacted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), who took charge of the specimen. The CFIA is concerned about this invasive species, which poses a threat to several industries.  

Furthermore, during the year, 1,166 international firefighters were welcomed in Quebec (mainly at Mirabel Airport) to contribute to the efforts to fight against forest fires.

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