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My Rant March 14th 2011- Social Media and Customs

So sometime late last year…2010..or early 2011, the CBSA finally decided to try and implement some web 2.0 applications. For those of you on Twitter, the CBSA is now tweeting border wait times. I am happy that the Agency is trying to keep up with technology…its just a shame that we are always so far behind in some things. To me, Twitter was a no brainer. I have quite a few other ideas as well but I know how the red tape works and by the time my ideas are put forward, reviewed by various levels of bureaucracy, it will be old news…
Anyway here is the link to the Twitter feeds if you are planning on taking a road trip to theUS.
What I don’t particularly like is how they state they welcome feedback and they will endeavour to join the conversation, but they will not follow back nor retweet. To me this partially defeats the purpose of social media. This make the conversation largely one way…and maybe not much of a conversation at all. Tweeting @ messages to the CBSA is like tweeting into the void the majority of times….I’m sure. So just a heads up, if you expect a response to a query, timely or otherwise, you are better off emailing CBSA-ASFC@canada.gc.ca.
The other idea that I had is for a Customs Wiki to be created…and internal version for employees and external version for the public. If there aren’t too many restrictions placed on this I believe it would grow and help educate the public and officer’s alike.
Internally we also could use a forum to discuss work related issues, tapping into a wide variety of officers from different backgrounds and modes, ultimately promoting healthy discussion, and sharing their knowledge and experiences with other officers.
Externally, the public, especially the Canadian taxpayer, deserves to have information easily accessible and laid out in an intuitive structure like Wikipedia. Our current website is not easy to navigate or find information. Also it needs to be updated quicker and a partially open wiki would help address these problems. The way I see it anyone can submit information with the supporting legislation and then it would remain in a public but unverified status until reviewed by the CBSA policy people.
Maybe I should start a Customs Wiki on my own. lol. If there are any CBSA people out there that would be interested in contributing…let me know…I know I could use contributors…anonymously of course. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble…I just want to make our agency better and help our fellow Canadians.So better and help our fellow Canadians.
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Customs questions anyone?



July 21st 2010

The idea of starting this blog came to me after trying to figure out something to do in my spare time that would help people, educate myself, and enter the online world.
I realized that over the years, in my line of work I have amassed a lot of information or knowledge of how to obtain the information in regards to Customs related topics.
Such topics would include:

Commercial Importing
Personal Importations
Vehicle Importation
Personal Exemptions
International Travel
Duties and Taxes
Some basic Immigration knowledge as well

However, I didn’t know where to begin.

I don’t want to just start writing blogs on different subjects…rather I would like to open up my blog to the general public and ask “is there anything you would like to know? Do you have any questions related to Customs?”

I am happy to answer questions in regards to the customs process that is available to the public. Most of the time the information is public….just not always easily found. Many people complain that the Canada Border Services Agency website www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca is horrible to navigate, and I couldn’t agree more. However, faced with redesigning the website I would have no idea where to begin. So who am I to judge? I just know there are a lot of people out there who need answers and are just not getting them…

So thats where I come in.

I will endeavour to answer all your questions the best that I can…with the disclaimer that I can only provide what I know or the public has access to. Think of me as a navigator…

So without further ado…

ask me a question.


Customs Info