Information for visitors to Canada
For those who enter Canada on either a temporary or permanent basis, their first hurdle is to clear Customs and Immigration. The following information consists of a brief overview of the role of Customs and Immigration
The Immigration side of Customs and Immigration is the responsibility of the Federal Government and, specifically, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Since 1867, Canada's Immigration programs have helped build a community of citizens respected throughout the world. Citizenship and Immigration Canada was established in 1994 to link Immigration services with Citizenship registration
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was established in December 2003, consolidating all border services provided by the Canadian federal government into one agency. The Canada Border Services Agency has the dual purpose to promote compliance with Canada's tax, trade, and border legislation and regulations through communication, quality service, and responsible enforcement, thereby contributing to the economic and social well-being of Canadians. The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is at Canada's entry points. Their presence at the border helps to monitor and control the movement of people and goods into Canada. They stop goods that could threaten Canada's health, environment, and agriculture, as well as prohibited goods such as drugs, firearms, and pornography. Also, they watch for missing children and runaways.
The Canadian Senate Committee on National Security and Defense has recommended that Canadian customs inspectors be given guns if a continued police presence cannot be provided at all Canada-U.S. border crossings. In "Borderline Insecure," an interim report on the security of the Canadian border released June 15, 2005, the Senate Committee says that police backup for border crossings, which is supposed to be provided by the RCMP or by local police forces, can be slow or non-existent.
On Friday, December 12, 2003, the Government announced the creation of the Canada Border Services Agency, an evolution of Customs and Immigration. Essentially, the Canada Border Services Agency will comprise the Customs program, formerly with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency; the intelligence, interdiction and enforcement functions, formerly with Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and the passenger and initial import inspection services at ports of entry, formerly with Canadian Food Inspection Agency. To protect the interests of immigrants and refugees, Immigration policy will remain the responsibility of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which will continue to be present at all major airports and land crossings to issue Immigration benefits, greet new Canadians and make Immigration determinations