Lax controls mean Canada lets dangerous people in: watchdog

Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:27am EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Lax controls by border agents and police mean Canada is allowing dangerous people to enter the country, posing a risk to security and safety, a report from an official watchdog said on Tuesday.

The report by Canadian Auditor-General Michael Ferguson could cause concern in the United States, where some officials have expressed concern in the past that Canada could be the launch pad for an attack on its southern neighbor.

Ferguson said systems to collect, monitor and assess data to prevent unlawful entry often don't work as intended. For example, airlines do not always provide enough advance information about passengers, the report said.

"As a result, some people who pose a risk to Canadians' safety and security have succeeded in entering the country illegally," it added.

Preventing people from sneaking into Canada has been a priority for successive governments since the Sept 11, 2001 suicide attacks in the United States.

Canada and the United States have tightened border controls, to the alarm of businesses worried about impediments to the huge trade flows between the two countries.

Ferguson said the Canada Border Services Agency has failed to keep an eye on all known high-risk travelers - including those connected to terrorism and organized crime - and did not try to monitor people who managed to slip through the system.

"The agency does not have the information it needs to know whether it is securing the border by decreasing the number of people who enter the country illegally," he said.   Continued...