You might not think it, but Canadian border enforcement is quite strict, even for U.S. citizens. Many TV documentaries got made in the past to show what it’s like entering the North American country. Although plenty of people fly into Canada, a vast number travel there by road.
Many trunk roads link the country with the United States. Some of the busier ones happen to be on the Saskatchewan border. Canada’s southern province links up with Montana and North Dakota in the USA.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) reported a busy year for their Saskatchewan agents. So, just how well-used were the border crossings in the province? According to official figures, over 536,000 people crossed into Saskatchewan in 2015.
Visitors traveled in 189,000 vehicles and 149,000 commercial trucks. Some of you reading this news article might think that the Saskatchewan border is a quiet one. But, it’s been a hive of activity and for some interesting reasons.
Increased firearms arrests
One surprising fact compiled from 2015’s border statistics is the rise of firearms-related arrests. CBSA officers seized more than 43 undeclared guns. A notable record dates back to August 2015 at the North Portal border crossing on Canada’s Highway 39.
Officers used x-ray technology to unearth eight undeclared firearms. One of the guns found was a fully-automatic AR-15 weapon. The gun was in a trailer heading for Alaska.
Another case of significance involves a man from Kentucky, also headed to Alaska. The traveler had 147 undeclared firearms magazines and had only declared 15 in total. He got fined $1,000 and opted to return to the United States.
504 travelers denied entry to Canada
In total, 504 people were not allowed to enter Canada. Those individuals got stopped at the North Portal, Estevan Highway, and nearby border crossings.
The reasons for their denial of entry ranged from impaired driving to grand theft. In September 2015, one U.S. man got refused due to a conviction for aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
Of course, not everyone with a criminal record gets barred from entering Canada. In some cases, individuals can apply for a pardon or waiver. Still, many people don’t realize this is possible. Even a petty theft conviction could otherwise get the person denied entry into Canada.
Protecting Saskatchewan communities
The main job of CBSA agents is to help protect dangerous people from entering Canada. They rely on a plethora of specialist training to help them spot even subtle signs of wrongdoers.
Saskatchewan has a population of just over a million people. Many of those live in remote areas. The CBSA is the first line of defense against criminals trying to enter their province from the USA.
Kim Scoville, CBSA Director of the Prairie Region, had this to say about the findings:
“We are serious about protecting our communities. Our officers use specialized training and contraband detection tools to single out dangerous people,”. Scoville added that CBSA officers do so “while maintaining the free flow of travel.”