Shana O'Quinn's Story

Shana is a Mi'Kmaq woman from Qalipu First Nation in Newfoundland. Indigenous representation at the CBSA is important to promote understanding of the culture and ensuring Indigenous peoples are respected when they cross the border.


Hi, I'm Shana O'Quinn, I'm a chief of operations with Canada Border Services Agency.

Today, we are at Pearson International Airport terminal one. We manage the commercial program, which is majority of volumes which are arriving in Canada, come through Toronto.

In my district it is quite diverse, we have courier, we also have our air cargo, we also deal with rail freight, marine freight and also the goods coming to Canada by truck.

But the things that I like most about working for CBSA is our diversity. We're everywhere, we are worldwide, our operations consist of air, land border, marine, rail. Our programs involve facilitation, it involves enforcement.

We never know what really our day is going to involve, but anything that's happening in the world impacts our business. So as a result, it makes every day challenging and it makes every day interesting. There is no typical day, it's the best part of the job.

I'm First Nations. I'm a Mi'Kmaq woman and I am from Qalipu First Nation, from Newfoundland, a recently recognized band in Canada. In regards to the pin that I'm wearing, this pin recognizes murdered and missing Indigenous women or people in Canada.

My advice for an Indigenous person would be the same as for a non-Indigenous person. Coming into the agency we need you to be you, so be true to yourself. We need all cultures on our border, we do need more Indigenous representation within our community. We do need the knowledge keepers to preserve the culture of our Indigenous Peoples and to respect their culture as they're travelling the border. We need you!

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Shana O'Quinn, Chief of Operations

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