Border agency, Transport Canada clash over gun rules

There is a turf battle happening at Canada’s main airports over handguns – however no gangs are concerned.

As an alternative, border officers have been butting heads with Transport Canada (TC) officers in a four-year-old dispute about who can bear arms in an airport.

Officers with the Canada Border Companies Company (CBSA) have been licensed to hold firearms since 2006. In 2011, the company permitted CBSA officers to put on their sidearms on the job at giant airports, the place they examine passengers arriving from overseas, amongst different duties.

Canadian Border Companies Company officers are usually prohibited by laws from carrying sidearms at main airports, however are disputing the rule with Transport Canada. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

However there is a snag: Transport Canada laws don’t acknowledge CBSA officers as ‘peace officers’. Which means they’re prohibited from carrying firearms at airports, besides when CBSA officers are escorting a deportee in another country.

In 2014, three years after CBSA allowed its officers to work in airports with their sidearms, somebody at Transport Canada observed the breach of laws. That led to a lengthy back-and-forth between the division and the company, with either side digging in and insisting the opposite aspect again off.

The dispute turned so unmanageable that the Privy Council Workplace (PCO), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s personal division, was introduced in to mediate. There’s nonetheless no decision.

“CBSA has requested that Transport Canada appropriate the discrepancy,” says an inside Transport Canada doc outlining the disagreement, obtained by CBC Information below the Entry to Info Act.

“Transport Canada doesn’t agree … PCO, Transport Canada and CBSA have met on many events however no consensus on a manner ahead could possibly be reached.”

Bureaucratic gridlock

Whereas these nettlesome negotiations trudged alongside, Transport Canada issued CBSA a brief exemption from the laws in November 2015 — one of many first acts below the newly appointed minister, Marc Garneau, simply weeks after the Liberal authorities was elected.

And as talks stalled, the division issued renewals of the exemption three extra occasions; the most recent one was efficient Jan. 30, 2018, and was signed by Wendy Nixon, director basic of aviation safety. The expiry date is blacked out within the launched model.

Within the meantime, all sides agreed that CBSA would rent a advisor to conduct a “danger evaluation” to overview the safety implications of gun-toting border officers working at Canada’s massive airports.

The company has employed Lansdowne Applied sciences Inc., an Ottawa consulting agency specializing in safety, to do the work below a $101,652 contract, and with a due date of Aug. 31, 2018.

TC [Transport Canada] doesn’t agree that airports are excessive danger

– Inside doc outlining dispute between CBSA and Transport Canada over weapons


The hope is that the report will assist to interrupt the deadlock.

CBSA desires Transport Canada to amend the laws — a generally prolonged course of — to permit its officers to put on their handguns at airports, citing growing threats and the necessity to counter them with firearms.

“TC doesn’t agree that airports are excessive danger,” says an inside Transport Canada word from final fall. It notes that the division – not CBSA – is chargeable for the security and safety of the aviation system.

A Beretta Px4, the usual situation handgun for CBSA officers. ((Courtesy Beretta))

One other memo says that “the division doesn’t agree with CBSA’s evaluation [blanked out] (and) has reiterated that TC’s function is to make sure that laws are complied with and exemptions usually are not used to override authorities coverage.”

For its half, CBSA factors out that Transport Canada already exempts from its firearms ban the wildlife officers, Parks Canada wardens and Atmosphere Canada staff who can legally carry firearms at and thru main airports. Native police forces additionally patrol airports, equivalent to Peel Regional Police at Toronto’s Pearson Worldwide, and are permitted below the laws to hold firearms contained in the airports.

Transport Canada referred CBC’s questions in regards to the dispute to CBSA, which supplied background data however didn’t reply straight when requested for extra details about the dispute.

“Making certain the safety of our border, in addition to the security of our front-line officers, is a key precedence for the Authorities of Canada,” Nicholas Dorion mentioned in an e-mail.

‘Extraordinarily bizarre’

A spokesman for the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), which represents some 6,600 armed CBSA officers, referred to as the bureaucratic conflict “extraordinarily bizarre.”

“We have to improve the safety,” mentioned Jean-Pierre Fortin, citing an increase within the variety of incidents throughout Canada involving armed assailants and a rise within the variety of firearms intercepted by authorities — a few of them seized at airports. “We have been pushing and pushing.”

Fortin mentioned there isn’t a elevated value to authorities in permitting armed CBSA officers into airports, as members are skilled in firearm use and have already got been issued their particular person sidearms.

At Pearson Worldwide Airport in Toronto, he mentioned, the division’s gun prohibition would imply “reducing your self off from 180 officers” capable of reply with weapons within the occasion of a serious safety incident.

Fortin instructed the Liberal authorities doesn’t need weapons to be extremely seen at Canada’s massive airports.

The usual sidearm utilized by CBSA officers is the 9 mm Beretta PX4 Storm.

Comply with @DeanBeeby on Twitter


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