Response to parliamentary committees and external audits
During fiscal year 2017–18, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provided Government responses to nine reports tabled by parliamentary committees:
- In June 2015, the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence tabled its sixteenth report entitled “Vigilance, Accountability and Security at Canada's Borders.” The Government’s response was tabled on . The report made 10 recommendations, including establishing an oversight body for the CBSA; establishing an independent, civilian review and complaints body for all CBSA activities; ensuring audio and video recording of interviews conducted by officers; implementing a system to register the entry and exit of all travellers; information sharing between the CBSA, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); enhancing regional intelligence capabilities and information sharing with CBSA frontline officers; ensuring that CBSA frontline officers are provided with the most relevant information on travellers at all times; and fully implementing a plan to collect biometric information from all foreign nationals arriving in Canada and use this biometric information to verify the departure of all foreign nationals.
- On December 12, 2016, the Standing Committee on Health tabled its sixth report entitled “Report and Recommendations on the Opioid Crisis in Canada.” The Government’s response was tabled on , in which the Minister of Health responded in detail to all 38 recommendations. Of the 38 recommendations, a response to those affecting the CBSA was grouped under the fourth pillar of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, called “Enforcement.” The CBSA committed to advancing bilateral discussions with international partners with regard to combatting crime, and stated that new proposed legislation was in progress seeking authority to examine mail weighing 30 grams or less. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development tabled its sixth report entitled “Division and Human Rights Violations in Burundi.” The Government’s response was tabled on . The CBSA was responsible for responding to the Committee’s third recommendation, namely that the Government “develop an action plan to support the resettlement of Burundian asylum-seekers in Canada, and maintain the existing moratorium on deporting failed refugee claimants to Burundi until a political settlement is determined to be sustainable.” The CBSA confirmed that it is maintaining the current moratorium on removing persons to Burundi through the application of an Administrative Deferral of Removals for Burundi, as it recognizes the instability of the current political situation. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development tabled its seventh report entitled “A Coherent and Effective Approach to Canada's Sanctions Regimes: Sergei Magnitsky and Beyond.” On , the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to the report, acknowledging the recommendations made within and stating that several key recommendations from the report will be implemented in Bill S-226, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law). The response also committed to working with all relevant departments and agencies, including the CBSA, to further examine issues identified in the report. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security tabled its ninth report entitled “Protecting Canadians and their Rights: A New Road Map for Canada's National Security.” On , the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Justice Canada tabled the Government’s response outlining how the report will serve as a valuable resource in addressing problematic elements of the former Bill C-51 and enhancing Canada’s National Security Framework. A commitment was made to increase accountability for security agencies and to implement a dedicated review body to scrutinize the activities of the CBSA. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled its twenty-forth report entitled “The Beyond the Border Action Plan, of the Fall 2016 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada.” In response to the report, on , the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness agreed with the Auditor General’s recommendations and committed to provide a full reply to the Committee by . On , the President of the CBSA submitted a full report to the Committee outlining the Government’s efforts and achievements with regard to the recommendations made in the Committee’s report. The CBSA led five recommendations, committing to refine its programs and border infrastructure for both travellers and Canadian businesses, and to continue to monitor its performance to ensure that these efforts are achieving expected benefits. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration tabled its eleventh report entitled “Starting Again: Improving Government Oversight of Immigration Consultants.” The Minister of IRCC responded on behalf of the Government on . The response committed to continuing to monitor the performance of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council and refer complaints regarding unauthorized practitioners to the CBSA. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled its thirty-first report entitled “Preventing Corruption in Immigration and Border Services, of the Spring 2017 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada.” Following the release of the Auditor General’s report, the CBSA, IRCC and the RCMP implemented Management Action Plans to help address the recommendations raised in the report. The Management Action Plans were shared with the Committee and are available on its website. The Government’s response is also available on the Committee’s website.
- On , the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics tabled its fifth report entitled “Safeguarding Canada's National Security While Protecting Canadians' Privacy Rights: Review of the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act (SCISA).” Public Safety Canada, along with Justice Canada, tabled the Government’s response to the report on . The response acknowledged the need to clarify the scope of the SCISA and requirements for the disclosure of information, and the CBSA is committed to supporting Public Safety in this regard. The Government’s response is available on the Committee’s website.
Response to audits conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (including audits conducted by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
Report 1—The Beyond the Border Action Plan
This audit examined whether selected departments and agencies were achieving results toward the objectives of the Beyond the Border Action Plan to enhance security and accelerate the legitimate flow of travel and trade, and whether reporting on progress against the Action Plan was accurate and complete. The audit focused on progress made by departments and agencies in meeting the commitments set out in the Action Plan; performance in achieving results toward intended benefits of the Action Plan; and planned and actual costs of initiatives. The audit also looked at how progress, performance, and costs were reported in the Report on the Beyond the Border Action Plan Horizontal Initiative prepared by Public Safety Canada. The Agency’s response can be found at the end of the report. Based on the audit results, the Agency has committed to the following corrective measures: the creation of a working group to review the current Beyond the Border key performance indicators, continuing to consult with the trade community to validate the enhancements identified in the Action Plan and to increase outreach, and undertaking a self-assessment to examine the approach and outcomes to the implementation of the radio frequency identification technology (RFID). As of May 2017, the Agency is on track to implement the recommendations as planned.
Report 2—Customs Duties
This audit focused on whether the Department of Finance Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and the CBSA adequately managed customs duties according to their roles and responsibilities. The audit found that the CBSA could not ensure that all customs duties owed to the government were assessed or that tariff rate quotas were respected. It was also found that the CBSA allowed some supply-managed goods to enter the Canadian market without the proper duties being paid. Based on the audit results, the CBSA committed to the following corrective measures: conducting a review of the customs broker licensing regime; exploring further measures aimed at creating a meaningful deterrent to importer non-compliance related to the evasion of import revenues; conducting a review of the current framework that allows for retroactive changes on the import form; conducting a review of the permit verification process to identify any gaps and challenges; exploring automated means to validate accounting declaration of goods; and consulting with the Department of Finance Canada in considering improvements to compliance for the Duties Relief Program. As of June 2018, recommended changes are in the planning stage and the CBSA will provide its full response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts by September 30, 2018, as requested by the Committee.
Report 3—Preventing Corruption in Immigration and Border Services
This audit focused on whether Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency implemented selected controls—meaning policies, procedures, processes, and activities—to address the risk that immigration and border services staff could be corrupted. The Agency’s response can be found at the end of the report. Based on the audit results, the Agency has committed to the following corrective measures: integrating the assessment of key controls on corruption into the Management Practices Assessment framework, reviewing and confirming that Regional Frontline Management profiles, responsibilities and accountabilities are in place, and continue to provide mandatory training and ensure that a communication plan is implemented and distributed to the Agency’s regions. As the report was tabled in May 2017, monitoring of the recommendations has not yet commenced.
Report 4—Departmental Progress in Implementing Sustainable Development Strategies
This audit focused on whether selected departments and agencies, including the CBSA, applied the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals; reported on the extent and results of strategic environmental assessment practices; and met commitments to strengthen these practices. The audit found that the CBSA did not apply the Cabinet directive to most policy, plan and program proposals. Based on the audit results, the CBSA committed to the following corrective measures: developing a definition to support the Cabinet directive to ensure that a strategic environmental assessment is completed when required in a consistent and measurable way; updating and communicating its internal review processes to support consistent application of the Cabinet directive to all proposals submitted for approval to the Minister and to Cabinet; reviewing, updating and communicating its internal processes to ensure that strategic environmental assessments are conducted and documented early in the life of proposals; and reviewing and updating its guidance and the tools used when the Cabinet directive applies, as well as communicating these updates to Agency employees. As of June 2018, the CBSA is on track to implement the recommendations as planned.
Response to audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
There were no relevant audits in 2017–18 requiring a response.
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