Arming Canadian Border Guards
The first Canadian border guards have graduated from the Canada Border Service Agency's firearms training program and are being posted to positions across the country. The government expects 100 border service officers to complete firearms training by the end of August, 250 to 300 by the end of March 2008 and all 4800 or so over the next 10 years. The guards will carry Beretta PX4 Storm 9 mm pistols.
Arming Canadian border guards is part of a 2006 Conservative election campaign promise to increase the security of the Canadian border.
The jobs of border guards have become increasingly dangerous and there has been concern for the safety of Canadian border guards for a long time. In September 2006, some British Columbia border guards left their posts when they heard that armed fugitives were approaching the border. U.S. border guards who work just the other side of the border are armed.
Canadian Border Guards Firearms Training Program
The 3-week firearms training program for Canadian border guards includes more than just learning how to shoot. In addition to firearms usage and range practice, the program includes training on determining levels of threats and risks, and simulation exercises in practical situations in which Canadian border officers may find themselves. The officers also receive instruction on their legal authorities and on new and revised Canada Border Service Agency policies and procedures.
Cost and Facilities for Canadian Border Guards Firearms Training
Training is currently taking place at RCMP facilities in Ottawa and Chilliwack, BC. The Canadian Border Service Agency is looking for additional facilities to be used until construction of the Canadian Border Services Agency Learning Centre in Rigaud, Quebec is finished.
In August 2006, the federal government allocated $101 million over the next two years towards the program. In November 2006, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day confirmed that the cost over the next decade to hire more guards to man the Canadian border, arm all Canadian guards at land border crossings and give them arms training could be $1 billion.