Thousands of alleged fugitives nabbed at Canadian borders in wake of CBC Toronto investigation

Hard to understand why this took so long:

Canada’s borders have become less porous in the wake of a CBC News investigation that revealed a major security gap in the way passengers were being screened before being allowed into Canada.

In the past 12 months since new screening measures came into effect on Nov. 21, 2015, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) apprehended 3,067 people with outstanding criminal arrest warrants at border crossings.

In the previous 12 months, before the changes came into effect, the CBSA caught just 556 alleged fugitives.

The almost fivefold increase is in large part due to the efforts of a southwestern Ontario woman who demanded answers after being sexually assaulted — allegedly by a Nigerian man who was able to get back into Canada despite having warrants out for his arrest.

“Knowing that potentially some other person’s rapist has been caught at the border, or somebody that’s done something terrible to someone else, gives me some comfort,” she said.

CBC News is not identifying her because she is a victim of sexual assault.

The changes to national border security came last November after CBC News looked into her case and discovered front-line border agents at primary inspection points did not have access to the Canadian Police Information Centre.

CPIC is a database detailing criminal records, individuals with outstanding arrest warrants and other information outlining who might be a risk to Canadians. Only travellers deemed suspicious and sent for more secondary checks were being screened through CPIC at border crossings. Now CBSA agents at all inspection points screen every passenger arriving in Canada through CPIC.

Jean Pierre Fortin, the head of the union representing Canada’s border and immigration agents, says the changes have boosted national security.

Border picture

Canadian governments had quietly been aware of the loophole in border security since at least 2002. Yet giving all front-line CBSA agents access to a database was considered too costly. (Sarah Bridge/CBC)

“It’s sad that this only came because of a terrible situation … but we got a better tool through CPIC to our front-line officers to be able to intervene right away.”

Source: Thousands of alleged fugitives nabbed at Canadian borders in wake of CBC Toronto investigation – Toronto – CBC News

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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