The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, recently responded to a CTA-led coalition letter outlining concerns with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) IT systems and the lack of resources being dedicated to staffing at the border.
The 15-member trade industry coalition urged the government to take immediate action to address these recurring issues by increasing funding for the Agency.
The Minister’s response details actions taken by the Agency over the last several months to deal with these issues, including the recruitment of new staff, increased monitoring of border wait times and improvements CBSA has made to IT systems and border procedures to combat system outages.
The Minister also acknowledged CBSA has “a number of older systems” and these issues have negatively impacted the supply chain. He added, however, the government has made major investments in modernizing its infrastructure and applications over the years and CBSA has placed the movement of commercial conveyances as a top priority.
He explained CBSA will be “exploring opportunities for further improvements through its Commercial Transformation Agenda.” This will include examining ways to improve border wait times and developing more consistent clearance requirements.
“CBSA staff have worked diligently to address staffing and IT issues over the last few months,” says CTA’s Director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs, Lak Shoan. “But CBSA will need to focus on upgrading technology to meet the needs of the supply chain and the demands of growing sectors such as e-commerce. These improvements will require additional resources.”
CTA staff continue to work with CBSA to address concerns related to CBSA systems outages and ACI AMPS penalties by forming focused working groups to identify areas where policies and operational procedures can be amended to the benefit of government and industry.