Politics

1 in 4 border officers witnessed colleagues discriminate against travellers: internal report

One-quarter of front-line employees surveyed at Canada's border agency in 2020 said they had directly witnessed a colleague discriminate against a traveller in the previous two years.

Just over 2 in 5 did not report what they observed; some cited fear of reprisal

A close up picture of a Canada Border Services Agency badge.
A survey conducted in March 2020 as part of an internal Canada Border Services Agency evaluation found a quarter of front-line employees said they had directly witnessed a colleague discriminate against a traveller. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

One-quarter of front-line employees surveyed at Canada's border agency in March 2020 said they had directly witnessed a colleague discriminate against a traveller in the previous two years. 

Of these respondents, 71 per cent suggested the discrimination was based, in full or in part, on the traveller's race, and just over three-quarters of respondents cited the traveller's national or ethnic origin.

The figures are drawn from a survey that was conducted as part of an internal Canada Border Services Agency evaluation, which looked at how the agency processed travellers using a lens of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability, and the interaction between these factors.

The agency recently posted the evaluation results, which focused primarily on people flying into Canada, on its website.

Part of the research included a survey of 922 border services officers and superintendents between March 2 and March 22, 2020.

Of those who said they saw a colleague engage in discrimination, just over two in five did not report what they observed. Some mentioned fear of reprisal or simply feeling uncomfortable.

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