Canadians cut border staff by 9 percent - more delays at border crossings
By Peter Samuel
Canada's border staff will be stretched thinner next financial year. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) which conducts immigration and customs checks of motorists from the US has given notice of job termination to 1,100 staff, 325 being front line border inspectors. That's the result of a budget adopted last month which intends to cut the cost to taxpayers of CBSA by C$143m over three years.
The number terminated is about 9 percent of the total CBSA workforce. The US Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security is even shorter staffed than the Canadians.
On both sides of the border delays getting through border inspection lanes are the major cause of backups and congestion on the US-Canada bridges. It is already common for inspection lanes to be closed for lack of staff to man them even at peak travel times, border crossing toll operators say.
The problem would be aggravated if Governor Rick Snyder and the Canadians were to build their new bridge crossing between Detroit and Windsor. Border inspection staff would be spread thinner than now.
It's not that there is a lot of traffic Michigan-Ontario - a mere 50,000 vehicles a day total (18m/yr) on three crossings (Blue Water Bridge, Detroit Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge), about the same as is handled on a single crossing of the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania on either DRJTBC's I-78 or I-80 toll bridges, and hardly more than a half that handled on the DRBA's Delaware Memorial Bridge between the New Jersey and Delaware turnpikes (17m each way).