Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity.
I am proud to rise today to speak to a subject that is important and vital to the safety and security of Canadians, as well as our economy. The bill, as presented today, seeks to achieve multiple goals. It would modernize our ports to ensure a resilient supply chain at home, and it would secure our marine ports to keep Canadians safer. These changes would support Canada's economic recovery while taking an environmentally sustainable approach.
As we have heard from other members, the bill is very ambitious, but let me assure the House that all the goals are feasible and realistic. They come as a result of the ports modernization review that was launched in March 2018 by the then minister of transport. During the course of the review, many stakeholders were consulted, through various venues, such as ministerial round tables. The review focused on how ports could make progress on five key goals.
However, I want to focus on how this bill would enhance safety and security and help prevent contraband from being smuggled through Canadian ports, as well as facilitating the movement of legitimate commercial goods.
Over the course of consultations, we discussed potential safety and security issues at all our ports. As is the case elsewhere, the marine sector is not immune to organized crime activities, and that is why the Government of Canada is heeding this feedback and taking action. We have heard from stakeholders that the government needed to improve customs examination processes and reduce delays in getting Border Services officers to inspect cargo. That is precisely what we are proposing to do.
Stakeholders also highlighted a need for consistent standards for employee security screening at ports. This is precisely why our government is putting forward measures to increase efficiency in the presentation of containers for examination at marine ports to combat criminal smuggling efforts; reduce costs and delay for importers; increase the number of containers that would be secured from tampering on marine terminal property, through improved security measures; and increase the rate of compliance among trade chain partners by implementing additional measures to address non-compliance through penalties.
The changes I have listed would work in concert with the other measures included in this bill. They would allow our border services officers to accomplish their security mandate in a more efficient and effective way. This work would undoubtedly improve supply chain security and the flow of goods in and out of Canada's marine ports.
I know some members are asking themselves this: How would these measures impact the industry financially? These proposed measures are aimed at reducing delays and enhancing security, and they are expected to result in a long-term cost-saving opportunity for the entire trade community. This includes our importers, consumers and, ultimately, the Canadian economy.
I say this because the costs associated with the delays of examining containers and shipments subject to tampering are often passed on to the final consumer. Colleagues, this is a step in the right direction to ensure that all trade chain partners focus on improving security and efficiencies.
These changes may also improve the reputation and economic competitiveness of Canada's ports, because shipping delays and security vulnerabilities continue to have a negative impact. This is why the government expects strong support from the trade community, as the measures are aimed at addressing shipment delays and the associated costs, as well as improving supply chain efficiency. Allowing for more security at our ports and protection for Canadians and the economy should be reasons enough to support the measures.
Let me tell the House what would happen if we did not take these actions. As it stands today, the current legislative and regulatory framework does not provide the CBSA with authority to ensure containers are made available for examination in a timely manner or that adequate security measures are in place to prevent tampering prior to examination. A failure to examine incoming goods in a timely manner leaves commercial goods open to criminal exploitation. This places Canadians at risk, and it causes economic impacts to the trade community and to the wider Canadian economy.
Let me continue by saying these impacts are felt not only at home but also abroad by our international partners. Our issues can become their issues. They can translate into a lack of confidence in Canada's ability to secure its marine ports. That is why the changes proposed in this bill are integral to all parties at our marine ports, including the CBSA in carrying out its mandate for safety and security.
I want to reassure the House, the trade community and all Canadians that the CBSA continues to experience significant success from its ongoing interdiction efforts at our marine ports, despite the need for improvements. Our border officers are highly trained in examination techniques to intercept prohibited goods and illicit drugs being smuggled into Canada. Our officers look for any indication of deception and use intelligence, as well as a risk-management approach, to determine which goods may warrant a closer look. The seizures that are routinely reported by the agency demonstrate the crucial role that CBSA plays in ensuring public safety, but more can be done. That is why the government has put forward this bill to give our officers the tools they need to better complete their mandate.
With more measures in place and a requirement that high-risk containers selected for examination are kept in a dedicated secure area, our officers at the border would be better able to interdict contraband and prevent organized crime from tampering with containers before they have been inspected. The additional penalties and time limits would ensure goods are examined in the right place, which would lead to safer Canadian ports. I believe that anyone can get behind these measures to further secure goods and protect Canadians.