Celebrating the CBSA Stars!

Update: We have held ceremonies celebrating the Stars across the country this spring. Further details are available in an article Stellar CBSA Employees are Shining Stars for the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers.

Members of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers have uniquely close ties with Canada Border Services Agency staff across the country. We work in the same locations all across Canada, we share a common interest in keeping Canadians safe while facilitating trade, and we even speak the same language of Customs compliance and border management. 

In 2012, for the first time the CSCB recognized twenty three CBSA personnel for excellence in service. This recognition is especially meaningful because it comes directly from people in the private sector that deal with CBSA staff on a daily basis.

What were we looking for? We were looking for CBSA staff who do their job with knowledge and goodwill, and who make a positive difference to the trade community every day. The recognition may be for a single situation which made a difference, or it may be for an ongoing attitude of cooperation and professionalism, every day. We thought we’d find stories at a local port, a regional office, or at national headquarters, and the only restriction was that we wanted this recognition to be for the efforts of people below the senior management level. We think of these people as CBSA Stars.

Let's meet the 2012 CBSA Stars and their nominators.

 

 

Céline Ferland, Quebec Region

Melanie Bedard, Milgram & Company, recognized Celine Ferland.

We deal with her for classification rulings and she is always responsive (with a smile in her voice), helpful, available and very knowledgeable.  She is constant and very reliable and it is nice to know that we have a “go to” person to count on.”

Steve Love, GTA

Percy Bubis, Viacan Customs Brokers Inc., recognized Steve Love.

“We have had a few dealings with this gentleman and he always returns his calls and is very courteous. When he advises that he will get to the bottom of a situation quickly, you can be sure that an email is received within twenty four hours with a concise reply.  He is a true professional.”

Marisha Aleks, GTA

Michael Zobin, Omnitrans International, recognized Marisha Aleks.

“There are many specific examples of how Ms. Aleks has assisted with inquiries and guidance. From a general perspective Ms. Aleks went above and beyond to take the time to understand the issue(s) the importer (my client) was facing and outlined instructions and guidance on how to resolve said issue(s).

These issues could stem from:

Drawback refund filing and reporting

- Duty deferral applications (focusing on duties relief)

- Letters of intent for various remission orders (including DRO’s, textile remission, etc.)

With each scenario, I was able to outline to Ms. Aleks the “road block” that the importer faced, and she gave clear and concise guidelines that aligned the issue with Customs regulation and policy.

At times, the importer did not “like” the guidance issued but the officer understood the concern(s) and possible ramifications and worked with us and the importer to see if any of the importers SOP’s could be modified to conform with Customs policy thereby allowing the importer to commence and/or continue with the business practice ensuring that these practices were now aligned to comply with Customs rules and regulations.

The main aspect of the contribution of Ms. Aleks is the time and service she has provided and the guidance, based on expertise and exceptional knowledge of Customs requirements, rules and regulations, that she has provided to myself, my company, and to our clients (various Canadian importers).”

Max Air, Southern Ontario (Windsor)


Mary Kennette, SDV Logistics, recognized Max Air.

“I had an issue today with a DAS that had minimal contact details.  I saw Max’s name on another DAS so contacted him by phone to ask for direction.  Max took the time to search out who I s/b speaking with and kept me in full communication with updates as to the status.  He had a great sense of humour, and was an absolute pleasure to work with. I will not be forgetting his name or his contact information.  He made a difference in my day.  It wasn’t his file to handle, but he took care of my issue with grace, professionalism and personality.”

Robert Boivin, Ontario Region (Hamilton)


Lindsay Pauls, Willson International, recognized Robert Boivin.

“The thing that I would like to recognize that Bob has done is that he is very informative and professional  when it comes to answering questions.  He sends helpful links to help us in understanding B2 questions that we might have, he is always there to help when you need it, and he always tells us to call him whenever we have B2 questions. He is always friendly and cheerful when he calls, he makes having to deal with Canada Customs as stress free and easy as possible.”

John Casey, Ontario Region (Mount Hope) 


John Brooks, Russell A. Farrow Limited, recognized John Casey.

“John Casey is an individual with a strong personality but he is also fair and not afraid to use common sense when appropriate.  Because of the manual process associated with E29B's, they don't always get acquitted properly and evidence of export is sometimes required to cancel an E29B.  Also, sometimes it becomes necessary to request an extension of the time limit.  In my experience, John is willing to explore every avenue within the scope of the regulations to recommend a course of action to his supervisor.  Example: In a recent case, John felt that a further extension was not within the scope of the regulations and called to advise that a request was to be denied.  I read the regulations from a different perspective and also took John to a section of which he was previously unaware.  He had the integrity to admit that and went back to his supervisor to explain that his previous recommendation was flawed and that a further extension was warranted.  As soon as I read the caption of this notice, my thoughts went immediately to John Casey.  Thanks for this opportunity.”

Todd Weber, Prairie Region (Winnipeg)


Rodney Stagg, Livingston International Inc., recognized Todd Weber.

“It is so much easier dealing with Customs now that Todd Weber acts as the liaison with the brokers.  It is nice to have a main contact at Customs who is able to respond to our inquiries in a very timely and efficient manner.”

Tina Longney, Prairies Region (North Portal)


Lynn McDonald, Livingston International Inc., recognized Tina Longney.

“I would like to recognize the following CBSA Officer at the port of North Portal -  Tina Longney.  She has been at this port for a number of years and deserves recognition for her attitude and helpfulness. Tina is the to-go-to person for us in this office.  She has a wonderful attitude and is always willing to go the extra mile if we require help in any situations.  She knows her “stuff”.

Nedra Yurkowski, Prairies Region (North Portal)


Lynn McDonald, Livingston International Inc., recognized Nedra Yurkowski.

“I would like to recognize the following CBSA Officer at the port of North Portal - Nedra Yurkowski.  She has been at this port for a number of years and deserves recognition for her attitude and helpfulness. Nedra is a wonderful officer with a great attitude, always ready and willing to help out in any difficult situation that we may run across.  She also knows her “stuff”.

 

Teresa Leslie, Prairies Region (North Portal)


Lynn McDonald, Livingston International Inc., recognized Teresa Leslie.

“I would like to recognize the following CBSA Officer at the port of North Portal - Teresa Leslie. She has been at this port for a number of years and deserves recognition for her attitude and helpfulness. Teresa is always willing to help, and is another seasoned officer who knows her “stuff”.”

Michael McAlduff, Pacific Region


Michael Zobin, Omnitrans Inc., recognized Michael McAlduff.

“There are many specific examples of how Mr. McAlduff has assisted with inquiries and guidance. From a general perspective Mr. McAlduff went above and beyond to take the time to understand the issue(s) the importer (my client) was facing and outlined instructions and guidance on how to resolve said issue(s).

These issues could stem from:

Drawback refund filing and reporting

- Duty deferral applications (focusing on duties relief)

- Letters of intent for various remission orders (including DRO’s, textile remission, etc.)

With each scenario, I was able to outline to Mr. McAlduff the “road block” that the importer faced, and he gave clear and concise guidelines that aligned the issue with Customs regulation and policy.

At times, the importer did not “like” the guidance issued but he understood the concern(s) and possible ramifications and worked with us and the importer to see if any of the importers SOP’s could be modified to conform with Customs policy thereby allowing the importer to commence and/or continue with the business practice ensuring that these practices were now aligned to comply with Customs rules and regulations.

The main aspect of the contribution of Mr.McAlduff is the time and service he has provided and the guidance, based on expertise and exceptional knowledge of Customs requirements, rules and regulations, that he has provided to myself, my company, and to our clients (various Canadian importers).”

Mark Grant, CBSA HQ

Melanie Bedard, Milgram & Company, recognized Mark Grant.

 “… for consistent professionalism in the area of trade policy and trade compliance."


Ed Hayes, CBSA HQ


Melanie Bedard, Milgram & Company, recognized Ed Hayes. 

“… for consistent professionalism in the area of trade policy and trade compliance.”

Jill Bryce, Ontario Region (Sarnia)


June Oake, Christine Robertson, Susan Vanderveer, Louise Seguin, Lori Mitchell, Patricia Postma-Niemeyer, Nancy Hilbert, Stephanie Haight, Fred Fletcher, Brenda Fletcher, Donna Crozier, Helen Bota, Tammy McLean, and Bob Thomas, all managers in the port of Sarnia, recognized Jill Bryce.

"Officer Bryce is an excellent liaison with the Canadian Customs Brokers located at the Port of Sarnia. Her professionalism, calm personality and her desire to "make it right" has proven to make our daily business activities an easier task. Whether it's locating a missing C type entry, processing a K84 adjustment, or just explaining a procedure, Officer Bryce is very co-operative. No matter what the circumstance Officer Bryce treats the brokers with utmost respect and for that we are appreciative.

Officer Bryce attends the regular meetings with the Brokers and CBSA and has firsthand knowledge of our concerns. She has initiated an "orange folder" system to alert the data clerk of priority requests, i.e. 5th day changes, and it is working very well.

Thank you to the CSCB for allowing us to introduce you to our star, Officer Jill Bryce."

"... Every manager at the port of Sarnia as well as YRC Reimer has signed this letter as we all agree Jill is fantastic and indeed makes doing business at this port a pleasure. Problem resolution, expediting changes and showing respect to the Customs Brokers at this port has made her our "shining star"."

 

Tim Meloche, Southern Ontario Region (Windsor)

Kristin Renaud, Russell A. Farrow Limited, recognized Tim Meloche.

“Tim is extremely knowledgeable, helpful and a great resource.  He is always courteous and assists my team in providing our clients the most accurate and comprehensive answers.  If he doesn't know the answer, he knows which direction to send you and who the best contact is within CBSA.

I have also worked with Tim in my previous role in Trade Compliance.  He provided insight and clear direction in completing amendment claims required as a result of Trade Verification audits.”

Les King, GTA

Kim Campbell, mkmarin trade services inc., recognized Les King.

“What makes Les King so special...He challenges the status quo and looks for ways to improve programs where it makes sense.  He is currently implementing the NRCan alternate reporting program for CSA importers.  Les is really great at negotiating with multiple parties solutions we can agree on and execute relatively easy. In addition, he managed the development and implementation of CBSA/CFIA non regulated food products CSA clearance process, Transport Canada CSA release program for tires. He is currently working on CSA clearance program for logs.

He has skills as a negotiator, and is someone that genuinely hears all parties’ concerns and  develops group consensus in short order.  His project management skills keep everyone on task and initiatives delivered.  People are inspired to work with him as it is clear he is always attempting to do the right thing for all.  Even when there may be disagreement from a trader’s perspective, you know you were heard and come away knowing why it cannot be done the exact way requested. He just is the voice of reason.

Les is very knowledgeable about CBSA regulations and policies, and has a great internal network, little time and energy is wasted in dealing with issues or project changes.  Too often at CBSA things take too long to complete or initiatives are started unnecessarily because of lack of knowledge.

He perfectly balances the obligation to protect Canadian citizens and tax payers with the obligation to promote trade. Here is one individual that really gets it!!!

He is always willing to help out in his own program area and will refer or engage others in his organization if not in his area.

For the reasons above, Les King is a star we are lucky to know.”

Norma Lahoud, Ontario Region (Ottawa)

 

Sandy Wood, Milgram & Company, recognized Norma Lahoud.

“Norma has been working for the Commercial Licensing and Security Unit for almost a year. I have dealt with several people over the years in this position but have never received the level of service Norma provides. Norma is very helpful, returns calls and always tries to help find a solution or bring clarity to the situation.

I think Norma Lehoud should be recognized as a STAR.”

Jacquie Stadel, Pacific  Region

Patti O’Malley, PCB, recognized Jacquie Stadel.

“Jacquie will listen closely to our concerns regarding specific shipments and assist if she is able. She will expedite things if that is what is needed. Jacquie will also reach out to other sections in the CBSA on our behalf if required, and get back to us with the results.

In summary, she understands that we as brokers and the CBSA are in the same business - at this level it is to expedite releases for commercial importers, and if there are issues, to handle them quickly and confidently. She treats my group and I with respect and will do whatever she can to assist in the end goal. We appreciate her service very much.”

Fran Biro, Northern Ontario Region (Ottawa)

Jeffrey Willson, Willson International, recognized Fran Biro.

“Ms. Biro has always been co-operative to assist regardless of the question being asked.  If a response is not readily available she has looked into the matter and followed up with an answer or provided the name of another CBSA officer to speak with. 

Ms. Biro has assisted numerous times in the past concerning the preparation and presentation of voluntary disclosures and blanket adjustments. Her willingness to assist and provide direction on technical issues has been a positive experience in dealing with CBSA.”

Ana Santos, Pacific Region

Patti O’Malley, PCB, recognized Ana Santos.

“Like her predecessor Brian Simpson, Ana always takes the time to listen to our concerns regarding secondary examinations.

If we can point out that another type of exam has already happened for a specific shipment, or that there is a history of examinations for a specific importer and their vendor, Ana will look into our findings, and release the shipments without a secondary exam if she agrees with our case that we have presented to her. This does not always happen, but Ana always gives us the room to make our case. Ana will also reach out to other sections within the CBSA on our behalf in order to expedite the process.

In summary, she understands that we as brokers and the CBSA are in the same business - at this level it is to expedite releases for commercial importers, and if there are issues, to handle them quickly and confidently. She treats my group and I with respect and will do whatever she can to assist in the end goal. We appreciate her service very much.”

Kimberly Paradis, CBSA HQ

Bob Beausoleil, Russell A. Farrow Limited (retired), recognized Kimberly Paradis.

“… for being especially fair and knowledgeable.”

Adam Greenwood, Pacific Region

Patti O’Malley, PCB; Lisa Kent, Davidson & Sons; Ruth Palmer-Haenisch, SDV Logistiques (Canada) Inc.; and Reena Kusper, EAJ; recognized Adam Greenwood.

Ruth Palmer-Haenisch of SDV Logistics said:

Adam is truly a star, he returns calls promptly, is extremely professional and courteous. He is always receptive to calls for help when the system fails us.  Today is only a small example, we have a container scheduled for a tailgate exam but the OGD scheduled to do the exam is not available until next week so he called to offer us the option of moving the container intact under customs bond to a bonded warehouse rather than leave it at the dock until the OGD arrives to break the seal and do what they need to do next week. The savings to our client in storage and demurrage will be considerable.”

Lisa Kent of Davidson and Sons Customs Brokers Ltd  added:

“On more than one occasion Adam has been extremely helpful to me when I'm trying to solve a problem.  I hold the kind of position in my company where all the weird shipments that no one else wants to deal with land on my desk.  Sometimes they leave me scratching my head and every time they do, I know that I can call Adam and he's always more than willing to help me out.  No matter how obscure, he always goes above and beyond to help me find an answer when sometimes other officers are not so willing to help.  He has become my go-to guy at CBSA.  I'm sure he's saved my job and gotten me out of a jam more than once.  If everyone in this world was a good at their job as Adam, it would be a happier place. I hope that he gets recognized for the fantastic job he does.”

Patti O’Malley of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. added:

Among other things, when we have difficulties with shipments that have been transmitted and get "stuck in a loop" we have contacted Adam. Adam is always helpful in giving advice or assistance if he can. He goes out of his way to assist us in the status of shipments. He never passes us off to someone else unless he cannot assist, and if he does have to send us elsewhere, he always provides the info we need to contact the person ASAP. Adam knows the regulations and follows them, but he makes the dealings of difficult shipments more bearable.

Reena Kupser of EAJ Customs Brokers said:

“I have worked with Adam for years.  Anytime I have an issue, he has always helped me to expedite my shipments I have a problem with, and if he can’t he always points me in the right direction.  Adam always acts very professional and friendly and always goes above and beyond his job description/duties to help me out when I have needed it.  I am sure other customs brokers will also recognize his qualities in helping them out, he is well known amongst the brokerage community as being one of the officers that is great to work with.  He makes all of our jobs easier, and always seems like he is happy to do it.”

Mark Laramore, CBSA HQ

Bob Beausoleil, Russell A. Farrow (retired), recognized Mark Laramore.

“… for his detailed knowledge, and willingness to listen to the views of clients.”