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Message From the Minister

The Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., Q.C., M.P. -Minister of Public Safety
The Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety

As Minister of Public Safety, I am pleased to present to Parliament the Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) 2009-10 Departmental Performance Report.

Over the past fiscal year, the CBSA continued to provide steady and secure service to Canadians. It did so even as it negotiated a number of unique challenges. Among these were the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which were a formidable test of the Agency's organizational readiness. The Agency also took a lead role in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, where CBSA employees worked in-country and at home to help stabilize the aftermath and expedite the entry into Canada of evacuees and adopted children.

Throughout this busy year, the Agency remained fully committed to its core responsibilities and fully engaged with its partners. The cooperation between Canada and the United States on border management — manifest in the collaboration of the CBSA with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection — continues to be a model of successful bilateral partnership. The CBSA has also maintained strong international engagement, including ties to the European Union, Mexico and other collective arrangements.

The CBSA also remained committed to the development of innovative technologies in pursuit of a more secure border environment. This commitment includes a deeper incorporation of advanced information systems and detection technologies, as well as ongoing support for innovative trade and traveller programs, such as eManifest, Partners in Protection and NEXUS.

This is my first report on the performance of the CBSA since becoming Minister of Public Safety, and I am pleased to confirm that the Agency is equal to the calling of its important mandate. Canadian communities are safe and Canadian business grows, due in large part to the integrity and discipline of the CBSA and its dedicated employees.

The Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety

Section 1: Departmental Overview

Raison d'être and Responsibilities

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provides integrated border services that support national security priorities and facilitate the free flow of people and goods, including food, plants and animals, across the border. Specific responsibilities include the following:

  • administering legislation (over 90 acts) that governs the admissibility of people, goods and plants and animals into and out of Canada;
  • detaining those people who may pose a threat to Canada;
  • identifying and removing people who are inadmissible to Canada, including those involved in terrorism, organized crime, war crimes or crimes against humanity;
  • interdicting illegal goods entering or leaving the country;
  • protecting food safety, plant and animal health, and Canada's resource base;
  • promoting Canadian business and economic benefits by administering trade legislation and trade agreements to meet Canada's international obligations, including the enforcement of trade remedies that help protect Canadian industry from the injurious effects of dumped and subsidized imported goods;
  • administering a fair and impartial redress mechanism; and
  • collecting applicable duties and taxes on imported goods.

Created in 2003, the CBSA is an integral part of the Public Safety Portfolio that is responsible for integrated national security, emergency management, law enforcement, corrections, crime prevention and border management operations.

Examples of Acts Administered by the CBSA

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act
  • Canada Border Services Agency Act
  • Citizenship Act
  • Criminal Code
  • Customs Act
  • Customs Tariff
  • Excise Act
  • Excise Tax Act
  • Export and Import Permits Act
  • Food and Drugs Act
  • Health of Animals Act
  • Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
  • Plant Protection Act
  • Special Import Measures Act

CBSA Service Locations

The CBSA provides services at approximately 1,200 service points across Canada and at some international locations, including the following: 

  • 120 land border crossings
  • 27 rail sites
  • 13 international airports
  • 444 small vessel marina reporting sites
  • 12 ferry terminals
  • 3 postal processing plants
  • 4 detention facilities
  • 46 international locations staffed with migration integrity officers
  • 4 major marine port facilities


Strategic Outcomes and Program Activity Architecture

The CBSA's two strategic outcomes and Program Activity Architecture for 2009-10 are shown below.

2009-10 Program Activity Architecture

Strategic Outcome

Canada's population is safe and secure from border-related risks.

Legitimate travellers and goods move freely and lawfully across the border.

Strategic Outcome Description

In providing integrated border services, the CBSA prevents the movement of unlawful people and goods across the border.

In providing integrated border services, the CBSA facilitates the flow of legitimate people and goods in compliance with border legislation and regulations.




Program Activity

Risk Assessment


Facilitated Border

Conventional Border



Program Sub-activity

Screening Abroad

Port of Entry Enforcement



Anti-dumping and Countervailing

Trade Disputes


Inland Enforcement



Tariff, Origin and Valuation





Summary of Performance

Total Financial and Human Resources

The following tables provide summary data on the total financial and human resources of the CBSA for 2009-10.

Financial Resources for 2009-10 ($ thousands)
Planned Spending1 Total Authorities2 Actual Spending
1,500,160 1,837,705 1,641,044

1 Planned Spending comprises Main Estimates and additional funding earmarked for the CBSA in Budget 2009.
2 Total Authorities comprises Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates, carry forwards and transfers from
Treasury Board centrally financed votes.

Human Resources for 2009-10 (Full-time equivalents)
Planned Actual Difference
13,810 14,739 (929)

There was a difference of $196.7 million between total authorities and actual spending.

The $112.7 million lapse in operating expenditures was related mainly to project delays associated with eManifest, the arming of CBSA officers, the upgrade of the corporate management information system, and adjustments to the annual fee that the CBSA pays to Canada Post to deliver and collect the required duties and taxes assessed on international mail.

The $84.0 million lapse in capital expenditures was related mainly to delays in infrastructure projects at the CBSA Learning Centre in Rigaud, Quebec, housing at ports of entry, facility upgrades at smaller ports of entry to end work-alone situations and the procurement of specialty equipment.

Strategic Outcome 1: Canada's population is safe and secure from border-related risks.
Performance Indicators 2009-10 Performance 2008-09 Performance
Percentage of people examinations that resulted in an enforcement action.1 1.9% 2.2%
Percentage of shipment examinations that resulted in an enforcement action. 11.8% 12.2%

1 An enforcement action is the act of compelling adherence to the law via the levying of sanctions (criminal and administrative), seizure of property and detention of culpable persons.

2009-10 Performance:
The CBSA continued to identify and intercept people and goods that are inadmissible to Canada. Compared to 2008-09, the percentage of resultant examinations for people and shipments decreased: approximately 15.0 percent fewer people examinations and approximately 4.0 percent fewer shipment examinations resulted in enforcement actions.

($ thousands)
Program Activity 2008-09
2009-10 Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
Risk Assessment 132,460 163,649 163,916 245,828 131,930 A strong and mutually beneficial North American partnership
Enforcement 215,972 328,998 328,998 398,664 215,108 Safe and secure communities
Total - Strategic Outcome 1 348,432 492,647 492,914 644,492 347,038  

2 Actual expenditures for 2008-09 were restated to be comparable to 2009-10 actual expenditures to reflect the changes made to the CBSA's Program Activity Architecture.

Strategic Outcome 2: Legitimate travellers and goods move freely and lawfully across our borders
Performance Information: 2009-10 Performance 2008-09 Performance
Total number of people processed 85,890,895 91,018,820
Air 22,629,552 23,429,399
Highway 60,078,754 64,381,388
Marine 2,930,290 2,952,421
Rail 252,299 255,612
Total number of shipments released 11,859,347 12,570,794
Air 2,812,311 3,015,197
Highway 8,294,431 8,728,789
Marine 428,124 463,242
Rail 324,481 363,566

2009-10 Performance:
The CBSA continued to operate the border smoothly for people and shipments seeking entry into Canada. Compared to 2008-09, the total number of people processed and shipments released decreased slightly as 5.6 percent fewer people were processed and 5.7 percent fewer shipments were released. These decreases are largely attributable to the global economic downturn.

($ thousands)
Program Activity 2008-09
2009-10 Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
Facilitated Border 33,674 36,935 41,053 44,333 33,539 Strong economic growth
Conventional Border 549,739 534,217 538,674 601,949 547,540 Strong economic growth
Trade 70,535 44,507 44,507 51,642 70,253 A fair and secure marketplace
Recourse 8,133 9,356 9,356 10,022 8,100 A fair and secure marketplace
Total - Strategic Outcome 2 662,081 625,015 633,590 707,946 659,432  

*Actual expenditures for 2008-09 were restated to be comparable to 2009-10 actual expenditures to reflect the changes made to the CBSA's Program Activity Architecture.

Commencing in the 2009-10 Main Estimates cycle, resources for the Internal Services program activity are presented separately (see the table that follows). These resources are no longer distributed among the other program activities, as was the case in previous Main Estimates. This has affected the comparability of spending and full-time equivalent information by program activity between fiscal years.

Internal Services
($ thousands)
Internal Services 637,123 365,367 373,656 485,267 634,574
Total - Internal Services 637,123 365,367 373,656 485,267 634,574

*Actual expenditures for 2008-09 were restated to be comparable to 2009-10 actual expenditures to reflect the changes made to the CBSA's Program Activity Architecture.

The CBSA's Internal Services include various activities that support its program activities. A significant number of those activities represent expenditures undertaken to manage information technology services, most of which are covered by the Memorandum of Understanding with the Canada Revenue Agency for the provision of information technology services. Considerable resources were expended on activities that directly supported regional operations that were undertaken outside the National Capital Region (e.g. management oversight). Internal Services resources were also used to undertake capital projects (e.g. upgrading and expanding facilities) and to support the CBSA in the areas of communications, legal services, as well as financial, human resource and asset management. Part of the planned spending associated with Internal Services was included in the planned spending for the Agency's program activities.

Contribution of Priorities to Strategic Outcomes

Operational Priorities Type Status Links to Strategic Outcome(s)
Enhance capacity to identify, assess and mitigate the risks posed by people and goods.
Importance of this priority:
To help ensure Canada's population is safe and secure from border-related risks by preventing the movement of unlawful people and goods across Canada's border.
Previously committed to

Mostly met

Major achievements included enhancements to targeting, the detentions and removals database, intelligence gathering and information sharing with domestic and international partners.

Strategic Outcome 1

The CBSA continues to enhance its capacity to identify and intercept people and goods of high or unknown risk before and at the border, which contributes to keeping Canada's population safe and secure from border-related risks. This will remain a priority in 2010-11.

Improve service levels for legitimate people and goods.

Importance of this priority:
To support Canada's economic growth by facilitating the flow of legitimate people and goods that are in compliance with border legislation and regulations.

Previously committed to

Mostly met

Major achievements included the development of a Border Management Action Plan, trusted (registered) traveller strategy, advancement of the Single Window Initiative, and expanded integrity awareness and security training.

Strategic Outcome 2

The CBSA continues to streamline border clearance processes through its trusted traveller and trader programs, which contributes to enabling legitimate travellers and goods to move freely and lawfully across the border. This will remain a priority in 2010-11.

Management Priorities Type Status Links to Strategic Outcome(s)

Improve management tools, corporate procedures and organization to advance border management

Importance of this priority:
To ensure the CBSA has in place a modern organization and knowledgeable employees who can support the achievement of the CBSA's strategic outcomes.


Met all

A key achievement was the Agency's success in implementing the first phase of its Change Agenda, including a new brand and the reorganization of CBSA headquarters, surpassing the objectives identified at the outset of the year.

Strategic Outcomes 1 and 2

The CBSA continues to improve the way it allocates resources, and strengthens its performance measurement and human resources functions, which contributes to a more effectively managed and integrated organization. This will remain a priority in 2010-11.

Operating Environment

As one of the world's most integrated border services organizations, the CBSA delivers a wide range of programs vital to Canada's security and prosperity. These include: customs; national security; the application and enforcement of immigration and refugee policy; food, plant and animal inspection at the border; as well as the collection of import duties, taxes and other border levies.

Throughout 2009-10, the Agency conducted its regular business within a challenging border risk environment and amidst an emerging economic recovery that depends on timely cross-border commerce and travel. Over the past fiscal year, the CBSA processed 85.9 million people and released 11.9 million shipments.

As a key federal government organization that contributes significantly to the Government of Canada's priority of promoting the nation's economic prosperity, the CBSA provides a major component of revenues for the Government. In 2009-10, the Agency collected over $21.0 billion in taxes and duties, down from the $22.6 billion collected in 2008-09.

The CBSA contributed to the success of several extraordinary initiatives, including the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The CBSA facilitated the entry of more than 30,000 accredited athletes and officials and 200,000 international visitors, their goods and equipment, while supporting Canada's security and public safety objectives. In response, the Agency received positive feedback from visitors and its partners alike on how well-organized and seamless border operations were.

The Agency was successful in putting in place operational and policy solutions for unforeseen and complex situations, including the opening of a temporary port of entry at Cornwall, Ontario, and the arrival of Sri Lankan irregular migrants off the coast of British Columbia. The CBSA also worked in earthquake-stricken Haiti and at Canadian airports to expedite the processing of evacuees and adopted children. In addition, the CBSA successfully led the Government of Canada's preparations for the June 1, 2009 implementation of the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The practical and flexible implementation of the Initiative was secured through the CBSA's strong leadership and engagement with the U.S. and other stakeholders, and prevented anticipated border delays and negative impacts on travel and trade in both countries.

Within this context, and by prudently managing its resources and seeking opportunities to improve operational and cost efficiencies, the CBSA continued to effectively manage the border without significant incidents, exceeding the expectations of the Agency and those of its clients and stakeholders.

Risk Management

The CBSA manages many operational risks, including the possible entry into Canada of illicit drugs; terrorists; goods that could cause chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive events; irregular migrants; counterfeit goods; firearms; and contaminated food, plants or animals. CBSA officers also examine exports from Canada to effectively control access to strategic advanced technology that could be used in the development of weapons.

Given the volume, diversity and geographic dispersal of the Agency's border activities and the breadth of risks to which the Agency must respond, the CBSA began developing a Border Risk Management Plan to optimize the Agency's capacity to identify, interdict and mitigate threats to border security. The Plan will translate threats into program delivery priorities and operational plans; identify program and operational gaps in high-risk areas; support risk-based and prudent resource allocation; and identify reporting mechanisms for performance to ensure results are incorporated into future threat and risk assessments. To be implemented starting in 2010-11, the Plan also responds to recommendations made in the 2007 October Report of the Auditor General of Canada, Chapter 5, “Keeping the Border Open and Secure”.

The passage of the amendments to the Customs Act in 2009-10 is strengthening the CBSA's ability to interdict contraband and other illegal items in susceptible areas such as airport tarmacs and seaport docks. It will also permit the implementation of eManifest, a major Crown project and the Agency's centerpiece system for merging facilitation and security goals for commercial processing. This will enable the CBSA to more effectively identify and assess risks and allocate resources for the interdiction and mitigation of those risks.

The Agency pursued other opportunities to push out the perimeter by improving access to advance information and securing more opportunities to conduct initial screening before people and goods reach the border. In 2009-10, the Agency continued to enhance its trusted traveller programs by developing a trusted traveller strategy and streamlining the processing of low-risk travellers arriving at Canada's ports of entry.

Domestic and international partnerships are pivotal in security cooperation to support the CBSA's program activities. In Canada, the CBSA continued to collaborate with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the agency responsible for border-related enforcement activities between the ports of entry, and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The CBSA collaborated with the RCMP to develop a pilot project, announced in April 2010 that will enhance border security between the ports of entry east and west of Lacolle, Quebec.

Internationally, the CBSA worked closely with the U.S., its most important partner in border integrity, by strengthening strategic cooperation, establishing common program priorities and enhancing the timeliness, quality and level of bilateral, operational information sharing. The CBSA is participating in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Border Enforcement Security Task Force along the British Columbia/Washington (Blaine), Ontario/Michigan (Detroit) and Ontario/New York (Buffalo) border. This multi-agency task force takes a comprehensive approach to identifying, disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations that pose significant threats to border security.

In addition, the CBSA sought opportunities to cooperate with other international partners. The Agency signed mutual recognition arrangements with customs organizations in Japan, Singapore and South Korea in June 2010 at World Customs Organization meetings in Belgium. These arrangements signify enhanced cross-border security as each country now applies similar security standards and performs similar site validations when approving membership in their respective cargo security programs. It also means greater trade facilitation for members as the programs will mutually recognize each other's members as being low risk.

Border Management

Given the scope of the Agency's border activities, the CBSA developed in 2009-10 the Border Management Action Plan to facilitate business planning and support the prioritization of CBSA programs and policies. The Plan also advances the Agency's movement away from a transactional approach at the physical border to one focused on pre-screening and pre-approval activities undertaken before people and goods reach the border, and on post-verification activities once people and goods have entered Canada.

The Agency renewed its focus on service by initiating the development of a Service Strategy that aims to strengthen the Agency's culture of service and simplify how the CBSA interacts with its clients. The CBSA has made progress on validating reasonable and transparent service standards across the CBSA's business lines. The Service Strategy will ultimately improve the Agency's accountability through the development, measurement and reporting against service standards and continued service improvement.

The CBSA serves many clients and stakeholders and seeks to maintain their trust by upholding the Agency's commitment to provide service excellence, while protecting the security and prosperity of Canada. In 2009-10, the CBSA continued to strengthen its engagement activities with stakeholders with a view to adopting a more collaborative, coordinated and strategic approach. This has helped the Agency to better assess and manage risk more effectively, share best practices, make more informed decisions, as well as project a consistent image of the Agency and a common set of messages. The CBSA's external stakeholders consist primarily of associations and individuals engaged in commercial trade, business, immigration, and travel and tourism.

The Agency also continued to implement its Integrity and Professional Standards Strategy that is helping to improve service at the front line by promoting and supporting the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in officer conduct and activities, both on- and off-duty.

In addition, the CBSA advanced its coordination of the Single Window Initiative, a joint initiative between the Agency and 10 other government departments and agencies. In 2009-10, the Agency developed the system to electronically transfer existing CBSA trade data to participating departments and agencies. When fully implemented, the initiative will streamline the collection of advance commercial trade data by creating a single electronic interface for businesses to submit information to meet import and export regulatory requirements. It will also benefit the trade community by increasing competitiveness, reducing delays, and improving the clearance and release times of goods.

Corporate Management

Since its creation in 2003, the CBSA has grown into a very substantial organization with an extensive range of programs and services to address a continually changing border environment. Given the Agency's experiences over the past six years and the increasing complexity of its environment, the CBSA has identified a need for greater clarity in direction, clearer accountabilities and streamlined management of its many programs and services in order to continue to meet its mandate.

In 2009-10, the CBSA launched a four-year Change Agenda, a plan that strengthens key management functions and enables the CBSA to address the increasing complexity of operations, the heightened risk context and financial pressures. As the Agency's roadmap for the future, the Change Agenda provides a new way of managing the CBSA to improve the delivery of programs and services in the field, and ensures that changes will be implemented in a disciplined and consistent manner (on time and on budget). It will also improve how the CBSA develops, supports, engages and retains its employees, and fosters an improved culture and identity with which both employees and stakeholders can identify. Because the Change Agenda is focused on programs, people and performance, its implementation will result in a stronger, more integrated and more effective organization.

The CBSA implemented the first phase of its Change Agenda in 2009-10. The Agency's headquarters (encompassing approximately 4,000 people) was reorganized to improve accountability and the management of the CBSA's programs and services. A new governance structure was also implemented to streamline and fully align decision making to the Agency's plans, priorities and commitments. In addition, the CBSA made progress in the areas of culture and branding, internal communications and employee engagement, and talent management and learning.

As part of the Government of Canada's continued assessment of existing spending, the CBSA underwent a Strategic Review in 2009-10. As noted in Budget 2010, the Agency streamlined operations and business processes through automation and consolidated service delivery to optimize resources. Budget 2010 also reinvests $87 million over two years to fund the Agency's core pressures.

In addition, the CBSA developed a performance measurement framework for its new organization. A new method for allocating resources, based on the performance of all program activities, will be implemented beginning in 2010. It will incorporate planned results, performance measurement, risk analysis and resource models, and support the optimal allocation of resources.

Expenditure Profile

The graph below shows the trends of the Main Estimates, total authorities and actual expenditures for the past four fiscal years. Significant additional investments were made in strategic initiatives over several years, culminating in 2008-09. The CBSA's funding remained steady in 2009-10 as these initiatives moved towards implementation and integration into regular operations.

Spending Trend 2006-07 to 2009-10

Canada's Economic Action Plan

Budget 2009 identified funding for the CBSA for accelerated infrastructure projects, including the expansion and modernization of four border facilities, the construction of additional housing in the remote ports of entry in Beaver Creek and Little Gold in the Yukon Territory and in Pleasant Camp, British Columbia, as well as funding for the CBSA's support role in Transport Canada's Air Cargo Security Program. The funding received for 2009-10 was $9.2 million and the actual expenditures were $3.8 million.

Voted and Statutory Items

($ thousands)
Vote No. or Statutory
Item (S)
Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording Actual Spending 2007-08 Actual Spending 2008-09 Main Estimates 2009-10 Actual Spending
10 Operating expenditures 1,263,345 1,433,100 1,279,813 1,426,054
15 Capital expenditures 34,903 53,000 56,202 32,657
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans 149,791 161,233 147,014 182,102
(S) Spending of proceeds from the disposal of surplus Crown 141 246 - 172
(S) Refunds of amounts credited to revenues in previous years 519 42 - 59
(S) Collection agency fees 8 4 - -
(S) Court awards - 11 - -
Total 1,448,707 1,647,636 1,483,029 1,641,044

The decrease in capital expenditures from 2008-09 to 2009-10 relates to project time frames. Expenditures were higher in 2008-09 when the CBSA completed a number of major infrastructure projects (e.g. port-of-entry facilities in St. Stephen, New Brunswick and Douglas, British Columbia). Capital expenditures were lower in 2009-10 as the Agency focused on planning infrastructure improvements at Rigaud, Quebec and various ports of entry, which are part of the accelerated infrastructure funding included in Canada's Economic Action Plan.