Think Canadians Are Polite? These Border Security Guards Weren’t

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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The men and women of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) once had their own reality TV show, but now they’re being accused of something very un-Canadian: rudeness. According to a Canadian Press report, CBSA guards were downright obnoxious and even “racist” to travellers.

Documents obtained through an access-to-information request reveal 105 “founded” cases of border misconduct in the 2017–18 time period — out of the 875 alleged incidents that were reported.

But this number only constitutes a fraction of the more than 95 million interactions between border guards and visitors to Canada in the past year.

The CBSA does not provide a preponderance of detail in their summation of border incidents deemed offensive. But one item describes how a “client states the border service officer was rude and yelled at her until she passed out.”

But according to CBSA spokesman Nicholas Dorion, the individual did not faint as a direct result of being ill-treated by the guard.

“During secondary examination, the traveler was found to be in medical distress. The border services officer followed proper first aid protocols in line with the training provided to all frontline staff. The investigation concluded that the (officer) did not play a role in the travellers medical distress,” Dorion told CP.

Most of the activity leaves much to the imagination, such as frequent descriptions of guards who were “yelling and berated travellers, swore at the clients, lacked respect.” An Apr. 17, 2018 log is more specific, indicating the officer was “racist, called the client ugly, abused his authority.”

No further information was provided.

“In these three cases, the CBSA reviewed the details of the incidents and took appropriate measures to address the conduct of the employees involved to ensure that they uphold the integrity of CBSA programs and demonstrate professionalism in their day to day activities,” Dorion told CP.

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