The adoption last year by the Canada Border Services Agency of a data sharing program with the police has helped CBSA identify more than a thousand with outstanding warrants of arrest.
A 2015 Senate report, which was released before the program started, revealed that as many as 44,000 people managed to enter Canada illegally. Some of them had outstanding warrants of arrest outside the country. The report also said that the Canadian government had lost track of these people. The report called for the implementation or more stringent screening of visitors and immigrants entering Canada.
In November last year, the CBSA began the process of accessing the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. The border agency began using CPIC in its primary inspection of travellers.
A report from the CBC News said that during the first month of its implementation, the program enabled the CBSA to flag 1,800 travellers into Canada who had outstanding warrants of arrest.
Some of the warrants were for minor infractions such as outstanding fines, but a quarter of the warrants involved criminal offenses such as arson, fraud, and sexual abuse.
Up until November last year, databases such as CPIC were only available to border agents at a secondary screening of entrants. Under that process, a person entering Canada had to be deemed suspicious by a border agent in order to be fully screened against Canadian police warrants by another border agent as a secondary checkpoint.
This process was followed in order to avoid long lineups at the border.
The use of CPIC at the primary border checkpoint was implemented after calls for more rigorous screening.
United States border guards have been using the database of Canada’s national police to screen people entering the U.S., long before the CBSA had access to CPIC.