Question Period: Canada Border Services Agency

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Rideau Canal, Ottawa

Hon. Jane Cordy: Welcome to the Senate of Canada. Minister, your government has committed to create an independent review body for the Canada Border Services Agency. This change will help to uphold people’s rights at our federal borders and should be a priority for Parliament.

This change has been in development for a long time. In 2016, the Senate passed former senator Wilfred Moore’s Bill S-205 to legislate CBSA oversight. The government introduced bills on this subject in 2019 and in 2020.

Minister, can you update us on the plans to establish CBSA oversight? Are you confident that this Parliament will finally achieve what I think is an extremely important policy?

Hon. Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety: Senator, you and I both. I often go back to the many items in my mandate letter just to fully embrace the ambitious agenda which I have the honour and privilege of advancing. I believe very firmly that we need to address this lacuna around the absence of an oversight mechanism specifically for the CBSA.

I know that in the past there has been an effort to try and put forward legislation. My commitment to you is to try to bring something back as quickly as we possibly can. You’ve heard me speak earlier in this chamber about the progress that we’re making in the context of the RCMP and strengthening oversight and other transformations which are necessary to ensure that there is transparency and accountability within that branch of law enforcement, but I totally agree with you that work has to be done in companionship with CBSA reform.

Having spoken with President Ossowski, who leads that agency, I know that he and his officials are fully on board and we hope to have something very soon.

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