Pubdate: Wed, 07 Jan 2015
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 The Hamilton Spectator
Author: Jim Bronskill
Page: A9


Screening Gaps Mask Air Cargo Risks: Audit

Better oversight, training and detection technology are needed to 
keep illicit drugs and other contraband from slipping into the 
country in air cargo, an internal audit says.

The Canada Border Services Agency audit says the findings are 
significant because commercial air cargo accounts for about 
one-quarter of all arriving shipments.

The audit team visited the high volume airports in Vancouver, Toronto 
and Montreal as well as three unidentified smaller ones in their 
study of the agency's air cargo examination program.

Regional border services officers scrutinize incoming goods, decide 
whether to allow them entry and take action if they discover violations.

The audit report, dated last July, was only recently made public.

Portions of the document - including details of some risks posed by 
deficiencies - were considered too sensitive to release.

However, the report does highlight one risk - that weaknesses mean 
"contraband and other unacceptable items could be brought into 
Canada" - possibly with the help of corrupt people working in airports.

Some program officials were not sure who to contact at headquarters 
when they had questions or concerns, the report says.

During regional site visits, the auditors found notes were being 
taken on air cargo examinations. But there was no national electronic 
system in place to record the results.

The report also expressed concerns about possible inconsistencies 
from region to region in training border officers.

In addition, the availability and usefulness of tools to help with 
examinations varied across the country.

The audit recommends the border agency strengthen oversight of 
commercial air cargo, ensure standardized delivery of training and 
"address gaps in detection technology."

The audit reveals that another, earlier internal review identified 
"gaps" related to training, technology and six other areas.

As a result, a plan to address the problems was developed.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom