CBSA collecting personal information from truckers

COUTTS, Alta. – Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has begun collecting personal information from truck drivers at several border crossings on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

This has taken some drivers, including lease-operator Greg Decker by surprise, and caused some concern. He was recently asked for his personal email address and cell phone number while crossing at Coutts, Alta.

Decker called the CBSA toll-free line, but didn’t receive any further information on why his personal info was being collected. He then turned to social media and found other drivers had been asked for the same information at Coutts.

“This adds to the already catastrophically high stress level,” Decker told Today’s Trucking in an email. “If the government wants this information, have the courtesy and respect to explain why in public.”

We reached out to CBSA’s Prairie Region media spokesman Luke Reimer, who confirmed the information is being collected on behalf of PHAC at several border crossings as part of a pilot project. Those crossings include: St. Stephen 3rd Bridge, N.B.; St-Armand/Phillipsburg, Que.; Lansdowne, Ont.; Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Ont.; Coutts, Alta.; and Pacific Highway, B.C.

Mullen Group
Lease-operator Greg Decker was taken aback when asked for personal information including cell number and email address at the border. (Photo: Greg Decker)

“As of June 30, in conjunction with PHAC, the CBSA launched a pilot project to collect contact information from persons who are exempt from quarantine by virtue of falling within one of the exemptions in Section 6 of Order in Council 2020-0524. This is so these exempt persons may be contacted during the 14-day period that begins on the day on which they enter Canada,” Reimer explained, noting further border crossings may also take part.

If requested for their personal information, “it is mandatory for travelers – including exempt persons – to provide their contact information in accordance with section 15(1) of the Quarantine Act and section 2(b) of the Order in Council 2020-0523,” Reimer added.

Decker is unhappy the pilot wasn’t communicated to the trucking industry before its launch, and still has some reservations about providing personal information at the border. He also questions the effectiveness of the approach.

“There is zero chance that I would reply to either a phone call or email from anyone claiming they are from a government agency. Do they not realize the volume of call we receive from scam artists claiming to be from CRA? Or the latest scam, from the RCMP?” Decker noted.

“I understand the desire and intent, but they should have actually consulted someone outside of their bubble,” he added. “Most truck drivers I know are not going to respond to inquires from Public Health, many are giving their company emails and phone numbers.”

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • Definitely doesn’t make sense at all. Doing compliance checks? Some of us do travel 400+ km one way from home to go to work for 7 weeks… And what will be next… ankle bracelets? Being forced to download an app on our phones? (Which I do use a flip phone for Canada)… Where’s the transparency? As usual, truckers are getting treated like criminals.

  • My concern now is the USA side at Port Huron Michigan and their new X-RAY where they X-ray you and the cab and trailer all at once! Don’t get me wrong I’ve had xrays when prescribed by my family physician. But this is going too far

  • That is non of there business .they have all that info on the passport.just another step towards a communist Canada. Government control.

  • Just another example of Gov takeover, we lose more and more of our privacy everyday, enuf already wake up Canadians, what are they going to do next, come into my bedroom?
    Why do they need my email and my phone # ?
    Simple question demands a simple answer !!

  • I forgot to mention that all of us should contact our member of Parliament and ask him or her why
    Border Patrol needs this information all of a sudden

  • 1984! George Orwell didn’t think of this one. Trudeau must go, using a false pandemic to collect personal information. This guy is so dangerous that it’s not funny anymore.

  • Tell customs you dont have cell phone or email.
    I dont know why they want it and I wont be giving mine to them

  • The Government knows enough about citizens already . That owner operator is correct we get scams already How is the person to know if it’s legitimate just saying

  • He is right,I am also not going to reply to any e mails or calls from CBSA.Too many scams are coming in,I would not know which is scam and which is not.
    So,to play safe,don’t reply.

  • I believe every American crossing the border into Canada saying they are going to AK should have to give their cell phone number and be tracked by the rcmp to make sure that’s what they are doing and not just holidaying in Canada. The same for Canadians going south saying they are going to Mexico. It’s to easy to lye and then go for a holiday.

  • Well, if you are at a border crossing or at any inspection station crossing between provinces, is nothing new having to answer questions about your health, if you being out of Canada during the last 14 days, your cell number and address. I don’t see what is the big deal. Unless you have something to hide. If you always come clean with authorities you never have a problem.
    Takes 3 minutes and you are on your way.

  • This started in BC back in April. Every time you cross you get a reminder text message to self isolate if you aren’t feeling well. It’s not a big deal and it is all information they had of mine previously. Relax people and be thankful we are still working and not living in one of the hot spots in the USA.

  • Derrick you’re actually very right. They should have made it public, iam not confortable just to give out my personal information just like that . Iam sick and tired of the scam call volume day by day .

  • Typical power crazed CBSA personnel (most), acting like they do, thinking they are above everyone. The “common sense” (lacking in most security/police) solution would be to simply tell the driver, at the time of the request, why his information was being requested and what it was going to be used for. Instead, they prefer to instill more mistrust between them and drivers. We’re both doing our jobs. There should be more respect given, maybe in both directions. And like what was said, most people ignore unknown callers and delete unknown emails, so the project is 50-75% useless from the get go.