Border Security: Canada's Front Line

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Border Security: Canada's Front Line
Border Security Canada's Front Line - Title Card.jpg
Title Card
Narrated by Jeff Cole
Country of origin Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 65
Running time Approx 30 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s) Force Four Entertainment
Original network National Geographic Channel
Original release September 6, 2012 – November 28, 2014
Related shows Border Security: Australia's Front Line
Border Security: America's Front Line
Homeland Security USA
Border Security New Zealand
UK Border Force
Customs (Irish TV series)
External links
Production website

Border Security: Canada's Front Line is a Canadian television program produced by Force Four Entertainment that airs on National Geographic Channel.

It follows the work of officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (Agence des services frontaliers du Canada) as they enforce Canadian customs, quarantine, immigration and finance laws.


Season 1 premiered in Canada on Thursday, September 6, 2012[1] and season 2 premiered on August 27, 2013.[2] New episodes in seasons 1 and 2 aired on National Geographic Channel, with reruns airing on Global and DTour. Season 3 premiered on September 5, 2014 at 10 pm.

Episodes also air on DMAX in Italy, Seven Network in Australia as Border Security: International[3] with narration by Eden Falk, ProSieben Maxx in Germany as Border Patrol Canada, Discovery MAX in Spain as Control de Aduanas Canadá and on Pick in the UK.


The show was criticized after filming a March 2013 immigration raid where eight workers were arrested.[4] Criticisms included the lack of informed consent for those filmed[5] and that the filming constituted an invasion of privacy.[6] Also at issue was the government's involvement in the show as then-Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews had approved filming.[5] A campaign to cancel the show was started: a group of 175 artists[7] and a group of 92 community organizations[6] each published open letters denouncing the show, an online petition calling for the show to be cancelled received over 20,000 signatures,[8] and the BC Civil Liberties Association filed a complaint with the Canadian Privacy Commissioner.[5]

Others defended the show for realistically portraying many of the agency’s mandates, including deterrents for undocumented immigrants while at the same time displaying the ongoing professionalism of the CBSA officers.[9] The situation was discussed in Parliament during an exchange between the NDP Public Safety Critic, Randall Garrison, and Vic Toews, where Toews defended the show.[10]

As a result of the controversy, the show's producers chose to not air the footage that had drawn criticism, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) updated the sign indicating that filming was occurring to better describe how consent for filming is obtained[11] and the CBSA limited filming sites.[12] The procedure for obtaining informed consent from participants has also been clarified.[13] Although Luc Portelance, president of the CBSA, recommended in October 2013 that the show should be cancelled, the show was renewed for a third season by Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney.[14]

In 2013, while filming for the show, the CBSA conducted a raid on a construction site in Vancouver. They arrested a Mexican national, Oscar Mata Duran, and brought him to an immigration detention centre where he was presented with a filming consent form. Canada's Privacy Commissioner, following a complaint from the man, investigated. The Commissioner found that the CBSA breached Canada's Privacy Act by filming their interaction with Duran before he was advised of the purposes of filming and found that the coercive nature of being detained in a holding facility would have prevented Duran from providing informed consent for his appearance.[15] In light of Duran's complaint the Privacy Commissioner recommended that the CBSA end its participation in the show. Cooperation with the CBSA ceased.[16]


Most of the episodes in seasons 1 and 2 were filmed at Vancouver International Airport, the land crossings at BC 99 (Peace Arch) and BC 15 (Pacific Highway), and marine points of entry in British Columbia. Portions of season 2 were also filmed at Toronto Pearson International Airport and the Peace Bridge (QEW).[17] In Season 3, the number of locations expanded with the inclusion Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and of land checkpoints in Alberta.


  1. ^ "A new reality TV series, Border Security: Canada's Front Line is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 6 on the National Geographic Channel". 29 August 2012. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Holmes, Tracy (21 August 2013). "South Surrey border officials get second season". Peace Arch News. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Knox, David (2 April 2013). "Returning: Mrs Brown's Boys". TV Tonight. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Stueck, Wendy (15 March 2013). "Filmed border agency sweep brings privacy concerns". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Keung, Nicholas (21 March 2013). "Reality-show exploitation of immigrant raid draws complaint to Privacy Commissioner". Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Keung, Nicholas (30 April 2013). "Border Security reality show called risk for vulnerable migrants". Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Open letter from artists and cultural producers: End the 'Border Security' TV series". Rabble. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Weisblott, Marc (18 March 2013). "Wife of target wants Border Security cancelled". Postmedia Network. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Collacott, Martin (18 March 2013). "Illegal workers should not be allowed to stay". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "TV cameras filming CBSA immigration raids for reality show is okay: Public Safety Minister Vic Toews". National Post. Canadian Press. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Tello, Carlos (8 May 2013). "Step into Canadian Border Services and You May Be on TV". The Tyee. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "CBSA puts restrictions on Border Security show after public pressure". Vancouver Observer. 6 May 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Lederman, Marsha (9 May 2014). "Despite controversy, filming of new season of Border Security underway". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Feds back Border Security TV show despite contrary advice". CBC. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  15. ^ "Border Security TV show canned after federal watchdog finds privacy violation". Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  16. ^ "Controversial reality show "Border Security" cancelled following privacy violation". Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  17. ^ Webb, Kate (28 May 2013). "BCCLA seeks travellers who were filmed by Border Security show without consent". Metro. Retrieved 9 October 2014. 

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