FORT FRANCES – Crimebeat The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) facilitates the entry of legitimate travellers and goods, while protecting the safety and security of Canadians and ensuring that Canada’s border is not used for illegal activity. This work is carried out by CBSA border services officers (BSOs) who ensure that the people, goods and conveyances entering Canada meet all requirements and are compliant with Canadian law.
In December 2011, CBSA officers at the Fort Frances port of entry (POE) processed more than 58,000 travelers in 33,000 vehicles, and 647 commercial trucks. Fourteen charter buses and 460 pedestrians were processed during the month. The CBSA also conducted over 600 secondary examinations for customs purposes.
Immigration: In December, officers at the Fort Frances POE conducted more than 325 immigration interviews resulting in the issuance of seven work permits, five visitor records, and 50 Remote Area Border Crossing (RABC) permits. Five people were found to have various admissibility issues and were given the option of voluntarily withdrawing their application to enter Canada and were allowed to leave.
On December 9, a U.S. resident was referred to Immigration for examination. Database checks showed that the individual had a conviction for driving under the influence in Minnesota. He had been given the option of voluntarily withdrawing his application to enter Canada three previous times at the Fort Frances POE due to his criminal inadmissibility. Despite having been counseled several times in the past on how to apply for a letter of rehabilitation that would have facilitated his entry into Canada, he had not applied for one. He was subsequently asked to voluntarily withdraw his application to enter Canada and was allowed to leave for a fourth time.
On December 20, a U.S. resident was given the option of voluntarily withdrawing his application to enter Canada due to three previous criminal convictions in Minnesota and was allowed to leave. He had been convicted of driving while impaired, alcohol-related careless driving, and refusing to provide a sample of his breath, all stemming from separate incidents.
Customs: During the month of December, CBSA officers conducted over 600 secondary examinations for customs purposes and initiated six seizure actions and issued an additional 16 written warnings for non-declared or undervalued goods.
On December 10, BSOs seized $400 of undeclared miscellaneous goods, including clothing, toys and a DVD player, from a returning Canadian resident. The goods were returned upon payment of $154 in penalties. Had the goods been properly declared, the individual would have paid just $49.03 in harmonized sales tax (HST).
On December 18, two returning Canadian residents attempted to avoid paying duty and taxes on goods purchased outside of Canada. An examination of the individuals’ vehicle resulted in the seizure of approximately $740 worth of undeclared electronics including a gaming console and an mp3 player. The goods were returned to the individuals upon payment of $188 in penalties. Had the goods been declared properly, they would have been subject to approximately $96 in HST.
On December 3, a resident of International Falls, Minnesota, arrived at the Fort Frances POE. During the primary interview, he was recognized as having come through the port in a cab approximately an hour earlier. At that time, the traveller had appeared intoxicated. He admitted to having “a few drinks” and BSOs made a demand for a sample of his breath, which resulted in a fail. The traveller was arrested for operating a motor vehicle with more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, and was turned over to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The OPP charged him with operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
On December 16, a Canadian resident returning from the United States was referred to secondary as a result of an outstanding warrant for assault. He was arrested and turned over to the OPP.
Travel Tips: The CBSA states, “After an absence of 24 hours, you may bring back $50 worth of goods duty- and tax-free; after 48 hours, your personal exemption is $400; and after an absence of seven days, you are entitled to $750 worth of duty-and tax-free goods. There are no personal exemptions for same-day purchases”.
The CBSA reminds travellers to truthfully declare all purchases and goods received outside of Canada upon their return. Smuggling, undervaluation and other Customs Act offenses may lead to seizure and/or prosecution in a court of law. A record of infractions is kept in the CBSA computer system. If you have an infraction record, you may have to undergo a more detailed examination on future trips.