Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) National President Jean-Pierre Fortin has confirmed the CIU will do everything in its power to overturn the discipline imposed last week by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on three Border Services Officers in Manitoba.
The three officers in question were on duty earlier this year at a local port of entry when an RCMP officer contacted the port with an urgent request for assistance to help apprehend a reportedly armed individual who was suspected in a kidnapping and wanted on outstanding warrants. In accordance with their understanding of ongoing inter-agency assistance protocols and s. 129(b) of the Criminal Code which requires such assistance when asked, the officers immediately responded as did the Superintendent on duty. Together with the RCMP they were successfully able to apprehend the individual in question. They were away from the port of entry, which remained staffed by three other officers, for approximately one hour. The incident was formally reported to CBSA senior management approximately 12 hours later. Following the incident, the RCMP formally thanked the CBSA officers in question.
Rather than commend the officers for their swift actions that helped keep the community safe, local CBSA management advised that the officers would be investigated for leaving the port of entry for an “unauthorized” purpose. Last week, CBSA imposed suspensions of between 4 and 25 days to the Officers.
CIU National President Fortin was emphatic in his support of the officers involved:
“These officers responded to a time-sensitive emergency request from a local RCMP officer to assist in the arrest of a reportedly armed suspect. Our Agency works in partnership with the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies on an ongoing basis and they also had a legal obligation to assist the officer pursuant to the Criminal Code.
CBSA’s decision to discipline our members contradicts our law enforcement and public service mandate to protect and serve.
The CIU will contest this matter on behalf of our members using every means available to us.”