2023 Year in Review: CBSA Welcomed More Travellers While Protecting Canadians From Illegal Guns and Deadly Drugs

Published: December 7, 2023

2023 Year in Review: CBSA Welcomed More Travellers While Protecting Canadians From Illegal Guns and Deadly Drugs

Everyday, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) works hard to protect Canadians, support the economy, and ensure the safe and efficient movement of people and goods across our borders.

As the CBSA marks its 20th anniversary in 2023, it is keeping pace with the changing world by continuously adapting to support Canada’s immigration goals, adopting new technologies to improve the border experience and becoming more agile at intercepting dangerous goods and stopping criminals at the border.

Between January 1 and October 31, 2023, the CBSA welcomed nearly 73.7 million travellers, an increase of 46% from 2022, and facilitated the arrival of almost 59,500 asylum claimants. We made over 35,600 drug seizures compared to 23,000 in 2022, an increase of 55%.

Protect Canadians and keep communities safe
The CBSA is Canada’s first line of defence at 1,200 ports of entry and plays an important role in preventing dangerous goods and people from entering our communities. Between January 1 and October 31, 2023, the CBSA:

  • Made over 13,800 weapons and firearms seizures, an increase of 75% from 2022, which kept more than 21,900 weapons and 800 firearms off our streets.
  • Seized over 50,800 kg of drugs, narcotics and chemicals, representing a 35% increase from 2022, including:
    • 0.56 kg of fentanyl
    • 88 kg of heroin
    • 1,475 kg of cocaine
    • 46,451 kg of other drugs, narcotics and precursor chemicals, representing a 61% increase from 2022
  • In collaboration with local police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, port authorities and insurance fraud and theft associations, we intercepted 1,573 stolen vehicles in Canada before they were shipped abroad, compared to 1,348 in 2022.
  • Reunited 12 missing children with their loved ones. The CBSA reunited 2,024 missing or abducted children with their parents or legal guardians since becoming a partner of the program in 1986 – for more information: Our Missing Children Program.

Build a modern border
The CBSA is modernizing how it manages the border to keep pace with a changing world. We are making enhancements to our technologies, our physical infrastructure and consulting and supporting our workforce to meet the evolving travel and trade needs and enhance our ability to protect the safety of our communities. The CBSA has new tools to make the traveller experience better and faster without compromising security, privacy and our country’s economy:
  • Advance Declaration is available at Canada’s 10 biggest airports for travellers who want to make their customs declaration on their phone or computer and take advantage of express lanes. Advance Declaration is already used more than 300,000 times per month.
  • The Canada Border Services Agency Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) is rolling out. CARM will help to protect and grow over $750 billion in trade and $30 billion in revenue collected at the border each year by providing Canadian businesses an online self-service tool and simplified importing processes.
  • Upgraded and renovated ports of entry, such as the St. Stephen Ferry Point Bridge in New Brunswick and began recruitment for the new state-of-the-art port of entry that will open at the new Gordie Howe International Bridge. More than 200 border services officers will be hired in the Windsor area.

Welcome travellers into Canada
The CBSA welcomed nearly 73.7 million travellers into Canada so far this year, approximately 46% more than in 2022. The CBSA facilitated the arrival of:

  • Nearly 73.7 million travellers
    • close to 29.2 million travellers by air
    • 40.8 million by land
    • 3.4 million by marine
    • over 248,200 by rail
  • Close to 387,100 international students
  • Almost 59,500 asylum seekers
  • Over 22,200 Afghans and more than 169,100 Ukrainians

The CBSA played a key role in helping the Government of Canada meet its commitment to welcome 40,000 vulnerable Afghans. Since announced in 2021, we facilitated the arrival of over 42,900 Afghans. The CBSA also supports the authorization of emergency travel for Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion, and since March 2022, we facilitated the arrival of more than 198,600 Ukrainians.

Support the economy
Over the past year, the CBSA continued to work on multiple fronts to ensure the free flow of trade and the protection of our economy. The CBSA:

  • Processed close to 4,554,300 commercial trucks into Canada.
  • Collected approximately $32.7 billion in duties and taxes, which in turn supported the programs and services Canadians rely on.
  • Intercepted over 662,700 kg of tobacco and almost 10,100 kg of cannabis preventing millions of dollars in revenue evasion and combating organized crime.
  • Engaged in and supported the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements with the United Kingdom, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia, and the modernization of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement.
  • Supported the ratification process of the United Kingdom Accession Protocol to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
  • Continued to protect Canadian industry from unfair trade practices by administering the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), with over $199 million in anti-dumping and countervailing duties, which protects approximately 30,000 Canadian jobs annually.

Collaborate with Indigenous communities

The CBSA is committed to Reconciliation with Indigenous communities through collaboration such as: 

  • Engagement with Indigenous communities to develop options to amend legislation on the right of entry to Canada and revise policies to address complex border crossing issues, through regional roundtables and Measure 52 in the Shared Priorities Chapter of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan.
  • Advancement of dialogue through the Jay Treaty Border Alliance-Collaboration Initiative.
  • Co-development activities with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to advance the Border Collaboration Initiative to improve relations and mitigate the impact of the international border on the Akwesasne community.
  • Initiating meaningful discussions with the Blackfoot Confederacy.
  • Facilitating the repatriation and rematriation of numerous Indigenous cultural items and regalia, such as the Ni’isjoohl Memorial Totem Pole (Nisga’a Nation), birch bark canoe (Mohawks of Kahnawa:ke) and a Snapping Turtle Rattle and False Face Society Mask (Haudenosaunee – Tuscarora Nation)
  • Improving the recruitment experience for Indigenous peoples and supporting their success in becoming border services officers by developing and using tools and approaches, including the Indigenous Candidate Mentorship Initiative. The initiative is designed to connect self-declared Indigenous candidates with indigenous mentors who can offer personalized support and guidance.

Protect the environment
The CBSA strives to prevent the introduction of invasive species and harmful food, plants and animals that pose a significant threat to Canada’s wildlife, food production, fisheries and forestry industries. To support this goal, the CBSA:
  • Issued over 1,600 penalties totalling $1,301,600, for food, plant and animal import violations.
  • Conducted more than 29,100 searches by Detector Dog Service (DDS) Teams, intercepting over 9,850 high-risk food, plant and animal products.
  • Recognized the 8.5 hectare maple grove forest at CBSA’s main campus in Rigaud as an Other Effective area-based Conservation Measure. This demonstrates CBSA’s continued commitment to protecting biodiversity while contributing to the Government of Canada’s goal to conserve and protect 30% of Canada’s land and water by 2030.

“Every single day, the Canada Border Services Agency welcomes travellers and processes goods, supports our immigration system, and stops illegal guns and deadly drugs from entering the country. As we celebrate CBSA’s 20th anniversary, I want to thank border services officers and all employees across the country and around the world for their steadfast commitment to keeping our communities safe and our economy strong,”
 Erin O’Gorman, President, Canada Border Services Agency.

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