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how to become an immigration officer in Canada

Pictures of the Customs College – Rigaud, Quebec – Amenities

Today I’ve decided to share some picture and info on the amenities at the Customs College in Rigaud, Quebec or the formal name which is the CBSA Learning Centre.

Rigaud is a quaint little town…and I mean little!…and I was pleasantly surprised to find quite beautiful. The town has a few little businesses like a hairdresser and few restaurants. The best is probably the greasy spoon down the street where you can get pizza, pasta or even a decent souvlaki if you get sick of the cafeteria food. There is also a Tim Horton’s but no Second cup or Starbucks unfortunately. So if you are a coffee lover you will have to drive for any specialty coffee. As for grocery stores, there is a Metro and an IGA.

The College Campus is quite nice actually. I believe the building was originally a monastery or something to do with the church as there are stained glass windows in one of the training rooms.



Opened in April 1980








The main entrance.







here is a couple shots of the greenery.








  I did spend sometime at this picnic table reading. it was very peaceful!








So lets start with what my room looked like.

Here’s the bed.

  I actually slept great on this bed. It was a queen. mattress is firm.

There is a phone for local calls or charges apply. The phone also flashes red if you have a message. At the bottom left hand corner you can see the edge of a mini fridge. No its not a mini bar!

At the top left you can see part of the closet where you can hang up clothes.





I also had my own TV and a desk.








Here’s what my bathroom looked like.

  Nothing special but not bad at all….served the purpose.










Ok so now let me show you the cafeteria.


  They try to stagger when people have their lunches as depending on occupancy the cafe can get quite packed and the lines long. Also once they run out of something that its so get their early!







 The Coffee station. Nectar of the gods. I was here many times a day!!! Its almost always open.







There was one area for deli stuff like sandwhiches and pita wraps, then there were two islands one for sides, and one for a salad/fruit bar. At the back was the grill for burgers, fries, hot mains, steak, clubhouse sandwiches, poutine etc.







  Bacon and breakfast sausage!








  French toast








  Fruit medley of some kind








 More fruit.








 Fresh grapefruit! Breakfast was definitely my favourite meal of the day.









 After all that food, may be you would like to work some of the calories off here at the gym. The equipment is not bad but not much in the way of free weights. There was one bench press and some dumbells…there rest were machines. Oh they also has a smith machine.






For those of you who prefer sports there is a gymnasium where you can play volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, badminton etc…

















or you could go for a swim in the indoor pool (which may have been shut down)









And then have a sauna before you shower.

A little tight I know….and no its not co-ed!










  In the basement of the residence wing there is a lounge in the basement where people get together to relax.







 There is also a pool table in the lounge








 and table tennis…I must say I became quite proficient at ping pong!








 And Bubble hockey! not free or  always operational but a classic!








for those of you who prefer to read there was a shelf with a few books on it for anyone to borrow.








 There was also a communal microwave








 A TV room you could reserve for a movie night








 With some nice seating…even if the TV is outdated…maybe they have a flat screen now.







 Here is the laundry room. you will need your own detergent as they don’t sell any.

In the room next door is a room dedicated for ironing.







 Here is the internet lab….where the connection is like two paper cups with a string in between. Supposedly its regular, but it was super slow.

Also many websites are blocked from being accessed. So if you are a facebook addict bring your own 3G / 4G device.






 And lastly, here is the port of Rigaud where some of the training is done. Just like the real thing!!!








Overall, the amenities were better than I expected the first time I went. Just having your own room is nice. The food is not bad and if you get tired of it there a few place nearby off campus. I must say that I enjoying going to Rigaud and I find it to be a really beautiful place.

For any new recruits going, I’m sure you will be fine with the facilities.

I hope you enjoyed this post













How to become a Customs and Immigration Officer in Canada – A job as a Border Services Officer

This post is to help those of you interested in becoming a Customs and Immigration Officer for Canada. In Canada, the duties of a customs or immigration officer are performed by a border services officer. In 2003, the Canada Border Services Agency was created in a response to 9/11 to amalgamate the enforcement and front line processing of Customs, Immigration and the Food plant and animal legislation. The goal was to create an Officer that can perform all functions at the port of entry. I.e. land border, seaport or airport.


Prior to 2003, there were 3 different types of officers at the port of entry, Customs officers, immigration officers and officers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Now, they are all one…the border services officer.


The mandate of the CBSA is to “provide integrated border services to support national security and public safety priorities and free flow of people and goods, including animals and plants that meet all the requirements under the program legislation.” The official mission is to ensure the security and prosperity of Canada and Canadians by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada.


In a nut shell, the above paragraph captures what the Agency you possibly hope to work for is all about. The CBSA is Canada’s version of the Department of Homeland Security in the US.


Below is the basic overview of the hiring process. Keep in mind that you need to be screened or pass to move on to the next level.


Educational Requirements
I have noticed that this seems to change from time to time. The minimum education requirement I have seen on a job poster is 2 years of post secondary education. That means 2 years of college or University. Previously, high school was sufficient but not any more.


* note that you will have to prove your education through diploma, degree, or official transcript.
*When applying, it helps to get screened into be invited to write the exam for your area of study to be law or enforcement related.


No experience is required to apply, however to get screened in to write the entrance exam you must show that you have experience applying rules, by-laws, legislation, or enforcement, or been in a position of responsibility, position of authority, dealt with the public etc…anything that would help in preparing you for a job where you deal with the public and have to uphold the law or some kind of rules or regulation. Many officers I noticed used to work in banks, customs brokerages, and some type of security.


Where to apply
All applications are now processed online through the Government of Canada Jobs site at www.jobs.gc.ca . If you’re interested you should check periodically or sign up an account and set up an email alert for the type of job you are interested in. At the bottom of the job posting you will see where you can apply directly online. You can complete all the required information directly or copy and paste your cover letter and resume from somewhere else.


In order to get screened into write the test I recommend reading over the key words in the posting and ensure that you have addressed how you meet the requirements or skill sets.
There are many Border Services Officers retiring in the next few years so there should be lots of openings if the economy begins to improve.


For more detail on the entire process visit the CBSA Website where the CBSA breaks down the entire process.


The Border Services Officer Test
This is not an easy test nor is it extremely difficult. It is 4-5 hours in length and is basically an aptitude test. You will need to know Math and English (grammar and spelling). You will need to do memory work and be able to apply logic and reasoning.


You need a minimum pass mark of 585 out of 900.


When I prepared for the exam I used a book called the Police Prep Test available at Chapters or Indigo. Now the same company has Test prep book specifically for Border Service Officers called the Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Military, Border Services, Corrections and Security Exams. I highly recommend this.

Click on the image below to purchase this book through Indigo Chapters.

The Comprehensive Guide to Canadian Military, Border Services, Corrections and Security Exams

 The reason I recommend this book is because it teaches three crucial aspects to successfully passing the test.


    1. Understanding the format of tests. Going in blind is a huge mistake. The examples on the CBSA website are not indicative of the level of difficulty of the actual test.


    1.  Practising and learning basic memory, logic and reasoning skills, and knowledge of math and English. The book also gives basic training in all these areas.


    1. And lastly, Time! Because the test is timed and the test is broken down to different section, each with a time limit…practising with a timer is crucial. The prep book has practice tests and how long you have for each section so I highly recommend practicing within the time constraints. There are no deduction of marks for wrong answers so the last thing you want to do is not answer a question.


 So if you want the best chance in passing the BSOT I would prepare for it using the above study guide and practice tests.


The CBSA Learning Centre in Rigaud, Quebec
The college in Quebec is where all new recruits must attend and pass POERT, which is Port Of Entry Recruitment Training. The course has varied in length of time. It has run anywhere from 13 weeks – 9 weeks. With the arming of Border Services Officer, at some point firearms training will be part of the curriculum and the length of time at the college will probably increase.


During this time, if you are not already an employee of the Government of Canada, you will not be paid. There is a small weekly allowance now but it’s not even worth mentioning and you most likely won’t see a penny until near the end or when you’ve already finished. There are 2 determination points or testing phases in Rigaud. You must pass both to graduate. The college is stressful and there’s a lot to learn. But if you survive you will come out of it with a job/career with the CBSA and the Government of Canada.


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