THUNDER BAY – A trip across the Canada / United States border is common for many Thunder Bay residents. Shopping, skiing, or just a drive is a frequent journey. 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, who ensure that the people, goods and conveyances entering Canada meet all requirements and are compliant with Canadian law.
In March 2014, CBSA officers at the Pigeon River port of entry (POE) processed 39,456 travellers in 19,668 vehicles, which represent a 13‑percent decrease in travellers and an 11‑percent decrease in vehicles from March 2013. More than 1,799 international travellers entered by bus.
In March, officers at the Pigeon River POE conducted more than 253 immigration interviews resulting in the issuance of four Visitor Records, three Work Permits, two Temporary Resident Permits. In 15 cases, travellers decided to voluntarily withdraw their application to enter Canada.
On March 1, a U.S. resident arrived at the POE from the United States to travel to Thunder Bay for one day. During the subsequent immigration examination, the male traveller admitted to being convicted of assault in the state of Minnesota. A further background check revealed a conviction of issuing a dishonoured check in the state of Minnesota on two occasions. He was allowed to withdraw his application to enter Canada and returned to the United States.
On March 13, a U.S. resident arrived at the POE seeking entry into Canada for two days, having no real purpose. The traveller was referred for an immigration examination. During the interview, officers discovered that she had convictions for solicitation and petty theft within the last ten years. She was deemed inadmissible to Canada due to her criminality and was given the option of voluntarily withdrawing her application to enter Canada. She returned to the United States.
On March 15, a U.S. resident was seeking entry into Canada to deliver goods. He was referred for an immigration examination. During the exam, it was discovered that the traveller had a recent serious criminality conviction of sexual assault on a minor in the United States. His criminal record indicated that he was a registered sex offender and that he had a previous conviction for failing to notify authorities of his change of address. He was allowed to withdraw his application to enter Canada and he returned to the United States
Certain foreign nationals who do not meet the requirements to overcome their criminal inadmissibility may be allowed to enter Canada with a one-time only fee-exempt temporary resident permit. For more information, please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/2012/ob389.asp.
During March, CBSA officers conducted approximately 2,904 secondary examinations for customs purposes or other government departments, initiated four seizure actions, two arrests and issued additional written warnings for undeclared or undervalued goods.
On March 8, a Canadian resident returned from the United States after an absence of 24 hours. The driver declared US$60 worth of protein powder. Upon examination of the vehicle, an undeclared watch, wallet, shoes, bracelet and earphones were found with a total value of US$599.09. The items were seized and the individual paid a $325.50 penalty for the return of the goods. Had the goods been properly declared, the applicable taxes would have amounted to approximately $78.
On March 30, three returning residents made declarations of $400, $432 and $273 respectively after a 48-hour absence. In addition, each individual declared one bottle of liquor. After further examination, a musical instrument was located with a repair bill of US$1,481.24. The individual denied that there were any repairs done to that instrument. After further investigation, it was determined that the repairs were for that instrument, which was seized for non-report and released back to the traveller upon payment of a $901.36 penalty. Had the repairs been declared, the individual would have paid approximately $212.
The CBSA reminds travellers to truthfully declare all purchases and goods received outside of Canada upon their return. Smuggling, undervaluation and other Customs Act offences may lead to seizure and/or prosecution in a court of law.