In 2006, the Government of Canada announced its decision to provide funding for training and equipping Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers with firearms. CBSA officers at all land and marine ports of entry, as well as officers who perform enforcement functions within Canada, will carry a firearm in the line of duty by March 2016. There are currently 2,142 armed officers that have been trained and deployed throughout the country.
Providing CBSA officers with duty firearms enhances border security and helps protect our communities. It improves their effectiveness at the border by enabling them to have a broader range of options when responding to dangerous situations and to pursue enforcement activities to a greater extent.
The CBSA selected the Beretta Px4 Storm 9mm as its duty firearm based on the results of a competitive procurement process. Beretta's products are used extensively by law enforcement and military organizations around the world.
The role of CBSA officers has not changed with the introduction of duty firearms. They continue to ensure the smooth flow of legitimate trade and travel while keeping Canada's border secure by assessing situations, using their skills, training, tools and good judgment.
From the onset of the Arming Program, the CBSA has set a high standard to ensure the safety of the public and its employees. The CBSA has partnered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to design a rigorous, comprehensive Duty Firearm Course customized to the duties and realities of CBSA officers.
The course trains officers on the safe use, handling, storage and transportation of the duty firearm as well as dealing with dangerous situations. CBSA officers are aware of situations in which force may be used and are trained in its proper use and application while ensuring they do not place themselves, other officers, or members of the public in undue danger.
Construction to expand the CBSA College in Rigaud, Quebec has been completed. The new state-of-the-art facilities now include a firing range complex and associated simulation and classroom training facilities.
Through this expansion, the CBSA will be able to provide firearms training to recruits as a component of the Officer Induction Training Program (OITP). The arming of officers completing OITP is a key element in the CBSA achieving its overall arming commitments to the Government of Canada, and is significant in that these will be the first employees who will start their careers within the Agency as armed officers. In addition, the CBSA College will significantly augment the capacity to train the existing workforce and meet Arming commitments. The CBSA College is the largest and newest training facility supporting Arming training. Three other existing locations remain an integral part of the CBSA delivery network and are responsible for helping support the overall training delivery mandate of the CBSA College in the most effective manner, mainly through various components of the Use of Force training program.
As part of the prerequisites to firearm training, CBSA officers must go through a rigorous screening process, including psychological testing. This is a standard practice among law enforcement agencies and the CBSA is no different.
To ensure that CBSA officers maintain their firearms proficiency, they attend practice sessions every year and are recertified on an annual basis.The CBSA remains committed to implementing and developing the Arming Program in a proper, safe and efficient manner.
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