CBSA Southern Ontario Region releases 2023 enforcement highlights

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The Canada Border Services Agency Southern Ontario Region has released their operational and enforcement highlights for 2023. 

The highlights, released on Tuesday, cover the period from January 1 to October 31, 2023.

The SOR is home to seven land ports of entry, two medium sized airports in London and Windsor, two ferry terminals, and over 100 private vessel marine sites.

Highlights of this year include the development of Canada's largest land border port of entry, the Gordie Howe International Bridge in Windsor, the region seized 351 firearms within the 10 months, an increase of 27 per cent of seized firearms from 2022, and 1,312 kilograms of narcotics were seized, up from 698 kilograms the previous year, among other highlights. 

Locally, in February the Windsor Tunnel port of entry seized just over $100,000 in undeclared U.S. currency, in March, those at the Ambassador Bridge seized 300 kilograms of methamphetamine which led to criminal charges against a Toronto couple, and in April another significant seizure involved 60 kilograms of cocaine.

Speaking on AM800's The Shift with Patty Handysides, Sydney Kale, Acting Project Director for CBSA in Windsor, says in total about 200 people will be hired to work at Windsor's new bridge. 

"So far we've done a significant investment in the staff that we've been onboarding there. Right now we've got about 72 employees who are actually, technically, Gordie Howe employees doing their onboarding with continuing our recruitment efforts."

She says just over 1,300 kilograms of narcotics were taken off the streets. 

"The amount of narcotics seized in the Southern Ontario Region was almost twice in 2023 than it was in 2022. We are certainly putting a lot of efforts into modernizing our border, both in terms of technology, infrastructure, and our workforce, to be able to address those concerns."

Kale says in terms of firearm seizures, the Ontario Firearms Smuggling Enforcement Team has been doing a great job. 

"That team's been really busy working with domestic and international partners to basically dismantle organized crime rings that are using Ontario as a gateway into Canada. And we have in our area alone been able to have a 27 per cent increase in firearm seizures this year over last year, so those efforts are certainly paying off."

The SOR covers the southern portion of Ontario and including the cities of Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, London, Sarnia, and Windsor, as well as surrounding communities. 

Currently, the region has 1,590 CBSA employees.