The Conservative federal government says cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency will not affect front-line workers.

More than 1,100 layoff notices have been handed out by the CBSA and some border officers in the Windsor region are losing their jobs. The layoffs are part of the latest round of federal spending cuts.

"The fact is that we are not cutting officers who deal with legitimate trade and travel on the border, we are merely making our border leaner and more efficient," Minister of Public Safety spokesperson Julie Carmichael wrote in an email to CBC News. "Over the past year, we've found saving measures that save taxpayers dollars, while maintaining the safety of Canadians. Over 70 per cent of the savings found are in operational efficiencies.

According to Carmichael, those include reducing travel expenses by using virtual tools such as video conferencing; reducing duplication across departments by combining administrative functions such as human resources; and replacing paper publications with online content.

"By modernizing and improving efficiencies, the CBSA will achieve savings at headquarters while streamlining frontline services," Carmichael wrote.

Still, Brian Masse, the NDP's International Trade Critic, said Windsor, Ont., could be one of the cities most affected by cuts to the Canada Border Services Agency.

About 10 per cent of the cuts are in the southern Ontario region, which includes Windsor, Sarnia, Niagara and Fort Erie where, combined, about 100 people will be out of work.

"It’s going to have significant consequences, not only in terms of tourism and trade and commuting, but in terms of safety and security," Masse said. "On the busiest border, we could see some of the most significant impacts."

Windsor-Detroit is North America's busiest border

Almost $500 million US in trade passes daily over the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, making it the busiest border crossing in North America.

Thousands of Canadians in the region work and shop in Michigan each week.

Jason McMichael is the first national vide president of the Customs and Immigration Union. He said the cuts will affect border wait times.

'Wait times couldn't do anything except go up.' — Jason McMichael, Customs and Immigration Union

"Wait times couldn’t do anything except go up when we’re cutting staff," he said. "I don’t expect that we can function appropriately with these budget cuts."

Masse is concerned the border will no longer have the capacity to efficiently handle international trade.

"This should be the first place we invest and not the first place we cut," Masse said.

The southern region will lose 41 border services agents, 47 employees in the intelligence department and two sniffer dogs teams.

McMichael said sniffer dog teams are "a tool that can't be replaced."

"It will make it easier to smuggle contraband into Canada," McMichael said.

"People’s main concern is going to be border wait times and how this affects them personally. But at the end of the day, our job and our focus is to look at border security and stop contraband from crossing the border," said Andrea Cats, a  local union rep and border services agent in Windsor.

Exact numbers in Windsor not yet known

The president of the Customs and Immigration Union, Jean-Pierre Fortin, said Thursday that 300 front-line officers have been eliminated nationwide.

'I have never seen anything like this in my life.' — Jean-Pierre Fortin, Customs and Immigration Union

It won't be known until Friday at the earliest how many people in Windsor specifically will be laid off.

"I have never seen anything like this in my life," said Fortin, who has worked in border services for 30 years.

The federal government, however, disagreed with Fortin, and said it's not cutting front-line jobs.

Fortin alleged the cuts will cause an increase in illegal immigrants, child porn, guns and drugs entering Canada.

Masse described the reductions as shocking.

"Cutting and having it more difficult to cross is exactly opposite what the United States expects from us," Masse said. "It's counter to some of the policies that are out there right now we need to resolve.

"This should be the first place we invest and not the first place we cut," Masse said.

Masse said with the Conservatives having a majority, the strategy now is to analyze how to protect some of the jobs and bring the fight to the House of Commons.