Evidence of meeting #68 for Public Safety and National Security in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was waters.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Bob Runciman  Senator
Sébastien Aubertin-Giguère  Director General, Traveller Programs Directorate, Canada Border Services Agency
Madona Radi  Director, Program and Policy Management Division, Canada Border Services Agency

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Yes, but he has to choose. He has to report to Canada.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Yes.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

With the bill, he won't have to report to Canada anymore. Is that right?

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Exactly.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

I have a second question.

Wouldn't a minister's directive be enough in the circumstances? Let me explain. He is the boss of the customs officers. Can't he tell them not to bother people who are only crossing and coming back? The customs officer isn't forced to intercept everyone and require them to do something.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

When we first inquired about how to fix this, we were told that it needed legislation. That's why we are going through the legislative process to fix this. However, I think it was last year that there were some CBSA officials who went over to Clayton, New York, and explained that the law was the law, and that there was no turning a blind eye to it. After the 2011 incident, we did hear that there were other incidents that happened, but they never received the media attention that the Anderson case did.

It did need to be fixed in the legislation. CBSA did not go tackling fishermen after the 2011 incident, but this clearly needed a legislative fix.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Thank you.

So when Canadians go to the United States and come back, they need to report to the customs post. Do they have to show a passport?

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

You have to show ID, a passport, a NEXUS card, or whatever you would need to return to Canada under any other circumstance. If you are a Canadian boater going into U.S. waters and then returning to Canadian waters, even if you never landed, you still need to go through that whole process. It's frustrating a lot of people.

June 7th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Allow me a few quick questions about the wording of the bill.

The purpose of clause 2 of the bill is to amend subsection 11(5) of the Customs Act. When you read the proposed text, you see that it applies to certain persons if:

(a) they enter Canadian waters ... on a conveyance directly from outside Canada ...

Obviously, someone who enters Canada does so from outside the country. I never understood how you could enter any way other than from outside Canada, but I won't go into that.

Now, subparagraph 2(5)(a)(i) reads: “or make contact with another conveyance”.

In English it is written “make contact with another conveyance”.

Does making contact mean physical contact must be established?

4:10 p.m.

Bob Runciman

That's right.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

If my boat is here, and the boat of my colleague Mr. Oliver is next to it, and he throws me a bag of potatoes, does that constitute contact?

4:10 p.m.

Bob Runciman

I would think it was contact, yes. It could be up to the courts, ultimately.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

I'd like to know what you had in mind. Would you consider that kind of situation? Or, was it simply when boats touch and attach to one another?

4:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Right.

4:10 p.m.

Bob Runciman

Yes, that's my understanding. You have to have that contact, not just throwing a beer from one boat to another or something like that.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Chair, I have another question.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Just before you do—and I'll give you a little more time—because we're getting into some technical questions, I'm going to suggest that if the officials want to join the witnesses at the table, that may be helpful for the witnesses.

It's a fairly technical bill, and if that's helpful for you, we'll invite them to join you.

4:10 p.m.

A voice

When we're getting into the potato chips.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Yes, when we're getting into the potato chips, that's technical.

We invite you to join us at the table.

If the witnesses want to turn to the officials for help at any time, they should feel very free to do so.

I don't know who you are, but you might want to introduce yourselves.

4:10 p.m.

Sébastien Aubertin-Giguère Director General, Traveller Programs Directorate, Canada Border Services Agency

Good afternoon.

I'm Sébastien Aubertin-Giguère, and I'm the director general of the Traveller Programs Directorate at the Canada Border Services Agency.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Thank you very much.

4:10 p.m.

Madona Radi Director, Program and Policy Management Division, Canada Border Services Agency

My name is Madona Radi, and I'm the director of the Program and Policy Management Division at the Canada Border Services Agency.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Rob Oliphant

Thank you for being with us today.

We are going to continue the meeting.

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nicola Di Iorio Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

I was wondering if you wanted to add something to the answer that was given.

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Traveller Programs Directorate, Canada Border Services Agency

Sébastien Aubertin-Giguère

Yes, if I may. I would like to come back to some of your questions.

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not set out that a Canadian returning to Canada must present any documents. The person must simply convince the Border Services Agency officer that he is a Canadian citizen. So there is no obligation.

The minister's intervention won't be enough, given that the act will impose presentation and reporting requirements on travellers. By the same token, someone who doesn't report will be breaking the law. It's not an authority vested in the agent, but an obligation on the traveller. The legislative process is necessary in the case of this amendment.