Ottawa, Ontario, January 26, 2012 – Today, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, took time to celebrate the 2012 annual International Customs Day and recognize the efforts of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This year's theme – Borders Divide, Customs Connects – recognizes the importance of co-operative border management in the global context, where strength is derived from partnership and joint innovation. The day comes under the auspices of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in which Canada has been an active member since 1971.
"The CBSA has had the opportunity, through the WCO, to engage its international partners on matters of mutual interest", said Minister Toews. "This dialogue has led to collaborative action on a range of issues, promoting harmonization of customs procedures and supply chain security, with the end result of better service for travellers and commercial clients, worldwide."
The WCO is an independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations. With 177 member governments, it is the only intergovernmental worldwide organization competent in customs matters.
"For 60 years, the WCO has encouraged its member organizations to come together in pursuit of solutions to the challenges of international security and global economic stability," said Luc Portelance, President of the CBSA. "It's a history that should inspire everyone in the greater customs community, and a legacy that helps define the vital work we do at the CBSA."
In 2011, the CBSA handled more than 13.5 million commercial releases, helping keep cross-border trade strong and robust. On the enforcement side, the CBSA made over ten thousand drug seizures, taking almost $1.7 billion worth of illegal drugs off our streets. The CBSA accomplished all of this and more while processing over 96 million travellers. The Agency effected over 15,000 removals from Canada. The CBSA also launched the successful "Most Wanted" by the CBSA list resulting in the apprehension of 19 individuals and the removal of nine from Canada. These actions highlight the role of the CBSA in keeping Canada's borders safe and secure.
The day may be marked in different ways throughout the CBSA, but the message stays the same. CBSA employees do valuable work, perform an important public service and their dedication is truly appreciated.
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