Summary of CBSA’s Business Continuity Plan
- Given the highly operational nature of the CBSA, including over 8,000 frontline officers and 60 Liaison Officers around the world, business continuity planning is an integral aspect of the Agency’s response to COVID-19.
- An internal COVID-19 Task Force was created to serve as a hub for internal emergency management across all internal services in their supporting role to operations.
- CBSA currently has 440 Business Continuity Plans (BCPs), covering 230 work location, including ports of entry and Inland Enforcement offices across the country and, at Headquarters, its National Targeting Centre and National Security Screening operations.
- The Agency also has key tools at its disposal, including the COVID-19 Sustained Response Plan and the Influenza Pandemic Guide.
- In the context of COVID-19, invoking Business Continuity Plans for CBSA would come as a result of an extraordinary increase in workforce absenteeism, such that operations could not be sustained to deliver Critical Services.
- At this stage, all CBSA Critical Services are being delivered and no Business Continuity Plan has been activated.
In accordance with the Emergency Management Act and the Policy on Government Security, the CBSA is responsible for preparing plans and arrangements that, in the event of a disruption, ensures an acceptable level of delivery of critical services and activities, and can achieve the timely recovery of other services and activities
This policy was approved by Executive Committee on December 22, 2016 and was updated in August 2019 to reflect the Agency’s new Functional Management Model. This policy is applicable to all CBSA employees (permanent, term, casual, and part-time), contract and private agency personnel and to individuals seconded or assigned to CBSA, including students.
CBSA currently has 440 Business Continuity Plans (BCPs), covering 230 Ports of Entry, Inland Enforcement offices across the country and, in Headquarters, the National Targeting Centre and National Security Screening.
Business Continuity during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Given the highly operational nature of the CBSA, with over 8,000 officers positioned on the frontlines, business continuity planning is an integral aspect of the Agency’s response to COVID-19.
In response to the spread of the coronavirus and escalating measures introduced by the Government for the public service, the CBSA created an internal COVID-19 Task Force to serve as a hub for internal emergency management across all internal services (Human Resources (HR), Information Technology, Real Property, Security, Material Management, Communications, Finance and Business Continuity Planning) in their supporting role to operations.
CBSA has identified five Critical Services to accomplish its mandate and Government objectives to support the health, safety, economic well being of Canadians and the effective functioning of government:
- Travellers - The free flow of admissible travellers into Canada while intercepting inadmissible travellers.
- Commercial and Trade - Facilitating commerce, trade and compliance.
- Enforcement and Intelligence - Identifying, investigating and pursuing enforcement actions against non-compliant citizens and non-citizens.
- Enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act - Detention and removal of non-admissible persons.
- Strategic Leadership - Executive Committee.
During regular operations, managing workforce availability to sustain Critical Services is a routine activity that regularly includes local reassignment of officers to respond to operational demand, in particular as traveller and commercial volumes may vary.
In the context of COVID-19, invoking BCPs for CBSA would come as a result of an extraordinary increase in workforce absenteeism, such that operations could not be sustained to deliver Critical Services. At this stage, all CBSA Critical Services are being delivered and no Business Continuity Plan (BCP) has been activated.
However, readiness to activate BCPs is being heightened through the following measures:
- Ongoing review of BCPs to re-evaluate Minimum Service Levels in light of evolving changes in operational need (e.g. traveller & commercial volumes);
- Introducing consolidated Personnel Status Monitoring reports to aid decision-making at the Regional and Agency level in making decisions on priorities, inter-regional reallocation of resources and potential cessation of some Critical Services such as the closure of certain POEs; and
- Initiating the creation of a list of staff with requisite skill levels who are available and could form part of a reserve force that can be reassigned to affected areas.
As the situation evolves, CBSA will consider more measures such as:
- Preserving workforce capacity for the long term, such as, where possible, minimal staffing to keep a part of the workforce at home to maintain a healthy complement of staff capable of replacing the ill;
- Reassignment of the recruit cohort at the CBSA College at Rigaud to the front line; and
- Additional training or cross training of staff to support operations.
In managing this situation the CBSA has established an Executive Management Committee, which meets daily to address key issues and provide clear direction to staff. Key issues include:
- Closed the training college at Rigaud to prevent co-mingling;
- Cancelled all international travel;
- Provided guidance and direction on telework, including a package to supervisors on how to effectively manage staff remotely;
- Provided flexibility and clear direction to staff on leave requirements;
- Ensured front-line staff have the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
The CBSA is also enhancing its union-management relationship. The Agency amplified the formal and informal mechanisms established to engage with the Unions on various HR and health and safety issues:
- Vice President of HR is speaking to the head of the Customs and Immigration Union (CUI) multiple times a day;
- The National VP of CIU is in daily contact with Agency lead of Health and Safety;
- A weekly union – executive meeting;
- Weekly policy health and safety meetings; and
- Bi-weekly regional occupational health and safety meetings.
Prepared by: Pierre Lessard, Director General, Professional Standards and Security Directorate, 613-316-7461
Approved by: Jonathan Moor, Vice-President Finance and Corporate Management Branch and Chief Financial Officer, 613-601-2891
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