Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Auditor General Criticizes Border Agency - High Risk People and Goods Getting In Too Easily

Today, Canada's Auditor General Sheila Fraser reported that the Canada Border Services Agency does not capture enough information on the results of its activities to know whether it is doing a good job at the border or to know where improvements are needed.

Fraser also raised many questions about the automated systems to identify high-risk travellers and shipments before they enter Canada. The Auditor concluded that the Agency has been missing some individuals and shipments that were identified as high risk:

"The threat and risk assessments that the Agency has put in place are not satisfactorily supporting its efforts to achieve a border management approach that is based on risk. It is still developing a risk management framework to guide its activities and does not have a suitable model for assigning the necessary resources to manage risk levels among ports of entry and modes of travel. While the selection of individual travellers or shipments for examination is based on risk indicators, the overall rate of examination at the border is based on historical levels of resources and capacity. In addition, the Agency's lookout system, which was designed to identify and intercept high-risk individuals and shipments, is not working as intended: we found some cases where lookout subjects were missed at the border, and not examined as required (...)

"The Agency does not record the results of all secondary examinations, information it could use to determine whether its targeting activities are identifying the right people for further examination. Nor does it have an effective system to randomly select goods and people for further examination and use the results to validate or improve its targeting and examination strategies. Without this information, the Agency cannot determine whether it is appropriately matching levels of examination activity to levels of risk".

She also found weaknesses in the program aimed at investigating container ships entering Canada. There have been examples where ships have been red-flagged but never checked to determine if they were a security risk.

Fraser did not audit the work of the Agency's Migration Integrity Officers located in foreign missions, its War Crimes Program, or its programs aimed at detaining or removing people who are not admissible to Canada.

The Agency manages 1,269 ports of entry by sea, air, and land. 96 million people cross Canada's borders every year.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:40 pm

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