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President of the Canada Border Services Agency mandate letter

From the Minister

Dear Mr. Ossowski:

It is with pleasure that I write to you in my capacity as Minister of Public Safety. In this letter, I will share some details about the mandate given to me by the Prime Minister and the many elements that involve the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), as well as my expectations for the Agency.

I want to begin by applauding the excellent work of CBSA employees, in particular in the face of the pandemic. Their dedication and professionalism has been critical in protecting the safety and security of Canadians. I also congratulate you and your senior executive team for your leadership in making this happen.

As you know, the Prime Minister has given me a mandate to act in several important areas, and many of these touch upon the work of the CBSA. This includes modernization, maintaining the integrity of our borders and addressing evolving threats; ensuring continued compliance with review bodies to maintain Canadians' confidence; using lessons learned from the pandemic to better serve the public.

It is essential that CBSA maintain the confidence of Canadians, which includes operating within the law and respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. CBSA must also work to eliminate any systemic racism or unconscious bias in its operations, and apply a GBA+ lens to its work and policies. Internally, this means ensuring a healthy and inclusive workplace for all employees. Externally, it includes addressing instances where racialized Canadians & newcomers have faced additional barriers, and ensuring that minority communities are not subject to unfair treatment.

To realize these objectives, the Prime Minister has asked that I deliver on the following specific commitments that involve the CBSA:

  • Introduce legislation to create a review body for the CBSA, including defined timelines for responding to complaints and recommendations.
  • Continue working with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Transport to protect the health and safety of Canadians through safe, responsible and compassionate management of the border with the United States (U.S.) and other ports of entry into Canada.
  • Continue modernizing infrastructure and processes at Canada's ports of entry, including digital and right touch technology for travellers and conveyances.
  • Ensure the safety, security and integrity of our borders, including measures to address the trafficking of firearms and illicit drugs, and irregular migration.

In order to realize these objectives I expect the CBSA to:

  • Work with Public Safety Canada and Portfolio partners to create a review body for the CBSA, and prepare to engage with it as soon as it receives Parliamentary approval. This includes responding to complaints and recommendations within defined timelines and fostering a culture of awareness and openness. This will help maintain public confidence, advance equity and procedural fairness, and combat systematic racism.
  • Continue working with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Transport Canada in protecting the health and safety of Canadians. This necessitates safe and compassionate management of our borders in light of the ongoing pandemic.
  • Continue modernizing Canada's ports of entry. This includes implementing digital and right touch technology for travellers and trade; supporting various Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) led initiatives, including work with the U.S. on Safe Third Country Agreement modernization; and advancing work on the multi-year Traveller Modernization initiative, including creating a new legal authority for the CBSA to collect biometric data.
  • Maintain the integrity of Canada's borders. This includes: measures to address irregular migration by increasing the efficiency of asylum claim processing, the removal of inadmissible persons, and reviewing and streamlining inadmissibility processes to maintain procedural fairness. Keeping Canadians safe and combatting the trafficking of firearms and illicit drugs will remain a top priority in maintaining border integrity.

In addition to supporting me in realizing these objectives, I expect the CBSA to:

  • Provide me timely advice on post-pandemic border policy to ensure that the health and safety of Canadians is protected while maintaining an efficient flow of travellers and goods across the border.
  • Continue efforts to address systemic racism and discrimination in CBSA's service to Canadians and other travellers, including increasing diversity and inclusion in the Agency's workforce, including senior staff, and ensuring that the CBSA is free of harassment and sexual violence. I will also count on your support for the Government's overall plan to address gender-based violence.
  • Continue working closely with partners to advance action on reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
  • Advance the Government's border-related commitments in the Roadmap for a Renewed Canada-U.S. Partnership, including working with domestic and U.S. partners to support my engagement in a renewed Canada-U.S. Cross-Border Crime Forum and make progress on shared priorities.
  • Support Employment and Social Development Canada and other partners as they advance measures to eradicate forced labour from Canadian supply chains and ensure that Canadian businesses operating abroad do not contribute to human rights abuses.
  • Continue supporting immigration priorities with partners from IRCC, such as ensuring safe passage and resettlement of people under threat, including from Afghanistan and Ukraine; in addition to providing ongoing operational support for the Annual Immigration Levels Plan.
  • Use an intersectionality lens and continuously assess how policies and practices may adversely affect historically marginalized groups, including, but not limited to, women, Indigenous, Black and Racialized Canadians, LGBTQ2S+, and Canadians with disabilities, to ensure determinations are free of bias and prejudice.
  • Ensure evidence and documents used to make determinations on inadmissibility are free of bias, prejudice and up to date.
  • Implement and ensure sound stewardship of the various investments the Government has made in the CBSA.

I look forward to a productive and collaborative relationship as we work together to modernize and maintain the integrity of our borders and protect Canadians.

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety

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