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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Increased security measures along US-Canada border

(12 November 2014)

The United States has been reviewing security measures along its northern border with Canada, even as Canada begins work on a 700-mile electronic surveillance shield along the US border. At a meeting prompted by the October gunman attack in Ottawa, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Canadian authorities agreed to, as Kerry said, create “some additions [to border security] that will promote even greater security than we have today.”

The 5,525-mile border has received less attention from the US than its border with Mexico; whereas 18,600 agents patrol the US-Mexico border, only 2,200 patrol the US-Canada border. Security measures can be difficult to implement in remote areas, and although Canada increased security measures after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, border agents cite continuing issues with guns and drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, Canada has recently announced plans to establish an electronic surveillance shield from Quebec to Toronto. Security measures will consist of video cameras, radar, ground sensors, thermal radiation devices, and improved geospatial intelligence. According to Assistant Commissioner Joe Oliver, the RCMP’s head of technical operations, “We do have [border surveillance] technologies deployed on a limited scale but … nothing in terms of the scale of this project.”


Undefended no more, 8 November 2014, The Economist,

RCMP details massive border security project, 9 November 2014, by Lucy Martin of North Country Public Radio,