Saturday, July 28, 2007

Minister Day attends graduation of Canada’s first armed border services officers

Chilliwack, British Columbia, July 27, 2007 -- The
Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety,
today congratulated the first 39 Canada Border
Services Agency (CBSA) officers in Canada to graduate
from the CBSA’s firearms training program. The
graduates, who attended training in both Ottawa and
Chilliwack, will be deployed to ports of entry
throughout the country.

As part of a plan to enhance safety and strengthen
security at Canada’s border, Prime Minister Stephen
Harper announced funding in August 2006 for firearms
training for CBSA officers at land and marine ports of
entry, as well as for officers who perform enforcement
functions within Canada. This includes the 400 new
permanent CBSA officers who will be hired, trained and
equipped in order to eliminate work-alone situations.

“Canada’s New Government is taking action to
strengthen our border security, and that starts with
giving our CBSA officers the tools and resources they
need to protect our border and keep our communities
safe,” said Minister Day. “Now that the firearms
training program is underway, we expect to have more
than 100 officers deployed throughout the country by
the end of August.”

"This is a long awaited day. Through its arming and
doubling-up of single-person shift initiatives, this
government has done more to enhance officer and public
safety than many previous governments combined, and
for this we applaud it," said Ron Moran, President of
Customs Excise Union Douanes Accise (CEUDA).

The firearms training program provides training to
CBSA officers on determining various levels of threats
and risks, and responding to situations through
simulation exercises. The next classes are scheduled
to begin on August 13, 2007, at RCMP facilities in
Ottawa and Chilliwack.

Canada’s New Government is committed to ensuring that
the border is protected from those who threaten the
security of Canada, while ensuring that legitimate
commerce or travel is not delayed.


For media information:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
Minister of Public Safety
Fact Sheet:
Arming of CBSA Officers

The 2006 federal budget provided the Canada Border
Services Agency (CBSA) with $101 million over two
years to begin the process of providing border
services officers with firearms. Approximately 4,800
CBSA officers at land and marine ports of entry as
well as inland enforcement officers will be trained
and equipped with firearms. Fully trained and armed
officers will begin to be deployed at the end of July
2007. By March 31, 2008, between 250 and 300 armed
officers will have been deployed. Full implementation
of this initiative is expected to take place over a
period of 10 years.
Why is the Government arming CBSA officers?

To ensure Canada’s borders are secure, the Government
must ensure that those who guard our borders are
themselves secure. Providing CBSA officers with
firearms and training, and ensuring that work-alone
situations are eliminated, will help achieve this
goal. Arming CBSA officers will improve their
effectiveness at the border by enabling them to pursue
enforcement activities to a greater extent before
involving police agencies.

CBSA officers who will be armed need to have
successfully completed the three-week training program
that reflects the CBSA’s specific working conditions.
Firearms training is more than learning how to shoot —
it involves incorporating firearms into the use of
force decision-making and simulation exercises in
practical CBSA situations. Training is taking place at
RCMP facilities in Ottawa and Chilliwack. The next
classes are scheduled to begin on August 13. By the
end of August, more than 100 officers will have been
deployed throughout the country. In addition to the
current and potential additional capacity at the RCMP
Ottawa and Chilliwack facilities, the CBSA is looking
for additional government or private sector facilities
that could be used until construction is completed at
the CBSA Learning Centre in Rigaud, Québec.
Safety at the border

The introduction of firearms is a serious and complex
undertaking. The CBSA has put in place a number of
measures to ensure the safety of its officers, the
travelling public and border communities. These
include a comprehensive arming training program, a
rigorous screening process, and detailed policies and
procedures to guide and support border services
officers. This initiative is being implemented safely,
professionally and without undue delay.