NEWS

Canada's Porous Border

By Matthew Harwood

Canada is having its own border security woes, reports the Toronto Star.

Canada's border security system may have all the new bells and whistles but it's possibly as porous as it was 20 years ago, federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser says in her fall report.

Fraser said an audit of the seven-year-old Canada Border Services Agency released today found that high-risk individuals and shipments continue to be missed because a new high-tech system "is not working as intended".... "The threat and risk assessments that that agency has put in place are not satisfactorily supporting its efforts to achieve a border management approach that is based on risk," she said in the review.

Her report, which calls for more random checks, feeds into growing criticism, particularly from the United States, that Canada is not doing enough to protect national security.

According to Canada.com, individuals on government watchlists are having an easy time crossing the border unnoticed:

An audit of the agency's use of threat and risk assessments revealed that a significant proportion of individuals placed on customs and immigration "lookouts," or watch lists, are slipping over the border unchecked. In the first three months of the year, for example, the agency estimates that 13 per cent of customs lookouts and 21 per cent of immigration lookouts were not referred for "further examination."

The auditor general's report also highlighted that Canadian border guards do not use intelligence reports when assessing whether or not to approve an applicant for the country's low-risk traveler program like the United States does.

Ninety-six million people and $404 billion worth of imported goods entered Canada last  year according to news reports.

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