NCCM Policy Paper: CBSA Oversight Bill
There are very few Canadian Muslims who can’t relate – or know someone who relates – to the challenge of “flying while Muslim”. We at the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) are very familiar with these challenges. From young Muslim six-year old kids appearing on Canada’s No Fly List, to Muslims facing additional screening purely on the basis of their religious backgrounds, to problems at the border based on where their parents were from, NCCM has heard countless stories over the last two decades about the challenges of flying while Muslim.
That is why one of our key battles over the last two decades has been in calling for oversight over the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). CBSA Officers are the officers you meet at a port of entry at land or when you are flying into an airport internationally.
Unfortunately, the issues of racism and Islamophobia at the CBSA are well-documented. While the CBSA has historically denied that racial profiling occurs, a growing body of research in the area has made it clear that the CBSA routinely engages in racial profiling.
Most recently, a CBC access-to-information request revealed over 500 allegations of misconduct by CBSA officers filed between 2018-2019. That’s why it’s so important for us to get CBSA oversight right. Before Parliament was prorogued, Bill C-3 promised oversight over the CBSA, the very thing NCCM has been advocating for over the last two decades. However, there were key changes that need to be made for the legislation to do what it has to do.
Now that a CBSA Oversight Bill will be re-introduced, we have an opportunity to fix key problems at the outset. The days where CBSA officers can theoretically racially profile Canadians without any external oversight must end. External oversight must be real, must pack real consequences for misconduct, and must pass.
Critically, none of our suggested policy suggestions hamper the ability of CBSA agents to ensure border security. Rather, they simply ensure that racial discrimination is not active on the border.
Our suggested policy changes are in the link below.