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Border Services Officer

Border services officers protect public security and safety while ensuring the country’s prosperity. They determine the admissibility of visitors entering the country and Canadians returning home. They also monitor the flow of goods across the border and screen for illegal items and substances.

  • Avg. Salary $66,781.00
  • Avg. Wage $34.77
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 3,000
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Canada Border Services Agency Officer, Customs Inspector, Inspector, Investigator, Law Enforcement Officer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Immigration, Employment Insurance and Revenue Officers (1228) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Immigration, Employment Insurance and Revenue Officers (B318) 
  • 2011 NOC: Employment insurance, immigration, border services and revenue officers (1228) 
  • 2016 NOC: Employment insurance, immigration, border services and revenue officers (1228) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Border services officers protect Canadian society, the environment, and industry. They prevent illegal items (such as drugs, firearms, obscene material, and other prohibited goods) from entering the country. They also guard against diseases (human, animal, and plant) that could threaten Canada’s well-being.

Border services officers enforce about 90 laws and regulations. They inspect goods imported for personal or commercial use. They deal with the public at airports, seaports, railway stations, and highway crossings. As the first official contact for newcomers, they serve as goodwill ambassadors.

In general, border services officers:

  • examine documents and interview travellers and importers
  • detain people who may pose a threat to Canada
  • deny entry to people who are not allowed in Canada (such as those involved in terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, or crimes against humanity)
  • examine personal and commercial shipments
  • monitor the movement of goods
  • stop illegal goods from entering or leaving the country
  • assess taxable value on imported goods
  • apply duty and sales taxes and collect fees
  • stop banned or hazardous products from entering Canada
  • investigate problems and enforce regulations
  • educate members of the public
  • use computer databases to extract or input sensitive information
  • arrest anyone who is breaking laws (under the authority of the Criminal Code, Customs Act, and Immigration Refugee Protection Act).
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Border services officers work at:

  • highway and rail border crossings
  • postal plants
  • international airports and seaports
  • inland offices.

They may work shifts because ports of entry are open all day, every day. They may need to travel, work overtime, or work in remote areas. They should be prepared to work anywhere in Canada.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Border services officers need to possess:

  • an interest in law enforcement
  • self-confidence
  • physical fitness
  • good speaking and listening skills
  • the ability to make decisions
  • good people skills.

They should enjoy:

  • following and applying laws, policies, and procedures
  • analyzing information (to determine admissibility)
  • working with their hands.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

To become a border services officer, an individual needs an acceptable combination of education, training, and experience. The minimum education requirement for a trainee in this position is a high school diploma. Trainees must also have a valid driver’s licence and must have successfully completed the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSC) and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) along with the related exams.

Experience or education related to law enforcement is preferred. Experience in the following may be assets:

  • measuring compliance and imposing penalties or sanctions for violations
  • gathering information in an investigative or high-pressure setting
  • using interview and examination techniques to obtain information
  • providing advice or services to the general public
  • processing and handling import or export documents.

Some other conditions may be required. Trainees must successfully complete 3 phases of training before becoming a border services officer. These include:

  • Officer Induction Training Program (online) - general orientation at home through distance learning
  • Officer Induction Training Program (in residence) - at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Main Campus in Riguad, Quebec
  • Officer Induction Development Program - on-the-job training, guidance and formal study at any one of CBSA’s ports of entry across Canada.

To learn more about employment conditions for a border services officer, see the Canada Border Services Agency website.

To learn more about Alberta post-secondary programs related to law enforcement, see the Police Officer occupational profile. 

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Border services officers work for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

With experience, they may compete for positions in:

  • supervision
  • management
  • administration
  • investigations
  • intelligence
  • detector dog services
  • compliance verification ­– trade
  • client services – trade
  • program services
  • international operations.

Border services officers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1228: Immigration, employment insurance and revenue officers. In Alberta, 95% of people employed in this classification work in the Public Administration [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Public Administration industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the 1228: Employment insurance, immigration, border services and revenue officers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 39 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

For detailed salary information, see the border services officers’ collective agreement. It is available through the Treasury Board of Canada.

Employment insurance, immigration, border services and revenue officers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.04 $41.17 $31.58 $31.57
Overall $26.34 $46.61 $34.77 $33.90
Top $26.63 $48.32 $36.49 $34.01

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Canada Border Services Agency website, become a CBSA officer:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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