Prairie Post (West Edition)

CBSA officers receive special training in lead-up to Papal visit

- By Ry Clarke Alberta Newspaper Group

Canadian Border Services Agency is preparing for the upcoming Papal visit in Canada, July 24 – 29, anticipati­ng an influx of travellers and making preparatio­ns for those travelling across the border.

Evolving with COVID-19 requiremen­ts, CBSA has been working with government agencies to lessen travel times and helping travellers with preparatio­ns.

“The CBSA is proud to support the visit of Pope Francis to Canada by facilitati­ng entry to Canada for internatio­nal travellers intending to take part in the events around the Pope’s visit,” said Glen Parent, regional communicat­ions officer, CBSA. “The CBSA carries out its mandate in accordance with eligibilit­y requiremen­ts and other applicable laws and regulation­s.”

The CBSA has been monitoring the potential increase of internatio­nal travellers and adjusting staffing levels as required, along with making officers available to assist Indigenous travellers who wish to enter Canada with cultural goods.

“Border Services officers are aware that many objects used in religious and spiritual ceremonies are considered sacred, and are normally handled only by certain individual­s within their culture to preserve the object’s sanctity,” said Parent.

“We understand that some travellers may be coming from the States to attend visits involving the Pope, and CBSA officers want to make sure folks are informed in advance, and that their transit through the border goes very smoothly.”

Travellers are encouraged to research the convention on Internatio­nal Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the exemptions to this list and declare cultural goods covered by the convention.

Parent also notes “Border Services officers in southern Alberta have received special training this past week on handling Indigenous cultural items.

They will be very well prepared to assist Indigenous travellers as they enter Canada.”

CBSA has been tracking flight loads into Edmonton, along with land travel, advising those planning on travelling to plan ahead and make the necessary preparatio­ns.

Expecting thousands of travellers to arrive for the visit, Parent said the “CBSA is aware of the historical aspect of Pope Francis’s visit to Canada. We’re very proud to work with other partners at the provincial, federal and municipal levels to help make sure that the Pope’s visit goes smoothly, and that travellers to Canada are able to take part in a visit and take part in historical events.”

All travellers are required to submit their informatio­n in the Arrive-CAN app up to 72 hours prior to entering Canada.

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