The officers who guard Canada's borders may soon be allowed to carry guns over the objections of the minister responsible for Canada customs.

The Canada Customs Revenue Agency is looking into whether the border guards, who have extensive police powers, should be armed while on duty.

Their union thinks they should.

"Society is becoming more dangerous and more violent and our officers see that at the border," said Serge Charette, national president of the Customs Excise Union.

But while border guards have the power to arrest suspicious people, Minister of National Revenue Martin Cauchon, who is responsible for the Canada Customs Revenue Agency, says they don't need guns to do it.

"As minister, I'm not going in that direction," he said. "It's not my vision to provide them with side arms."

The agency is being forced to conduct a job hazard analysis because last spring four guards lodged a formal complaint to the federal government, arguing that guns would make their work environment safer.

Richard LaFrance, a manager of compliance at Human Resources Development Canada, said the study will determine whether guns are needed.

"It's hard to decide whether or not they will need guns until the study has been completed," he said.

Cauchon has already decided they don't need guns, but he said he'll be open to what the study finds.

"We'll see the conclusion," he said. "We'll have a look at the conclusions and take the necessary actions afterwards."