Celebrating the CBSA Stars of 2014!

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

CBSA Stars award

Members of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) have uniquely close ties with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) 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.

Every year, CSCB members recognize CBSA staff across the country for doing their job with knowledge and goodwill and making a positive difference to the trade community every day. The recognition may be for a single situation which made a difference, or for an ongoing attitude of cooperation and professionalism. 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 twenty CBSA Stars of 2014 and their nominators.

Maria Brosas, Pacific Region

Nancy Lavigne of Axxess International Courtiers en Douanes / Customs Brokers Inc. recognized Maria Brosas.

"Maria has provided us with great service as well as assisted many carriers we work with in understanding the eManifest issues and requirements. Maria is always available and prepared to contact other CBSA offices to resolve cross port issues. Axxess wants the CBSA to know that she is a valuable asset to the private sector and for our CSCB membership to acknowledge her customer service."

Darren Buckley, Pacific Region

Sherry Cosier of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. recognized Darren Buckley.

"Officer Darren Buckley at Port 817 - Huntington gets our vote this year! Officer Buckley's commitment to CBSA is commendable. He always assists whenever needed. He offers a definite solution to any type of problem presented to him. His display of responsibility to CBSA is notable."

Jennifer Wilson, Pacific Region

Cindy Christensen of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. recognized Jennifer (JJ) Wilson.

"Officer JJ Wilson has been wonderful to deal with over the last year and a half. She is extremely knowledgeable, patient, friendly and fair.

I worked with her a few times on urgent or complex issues including a shipment of live chicks that were in peril from delayed release due to incorrect health certificates and shipments from Iran that were subject to sanctions. In all events she was thorough, kind in explaining the circumstance, and willing to work with us for the best solution available. Unfortunately not all situations worked out in the best way for our client, but were handled fairly and quickly as to not leave anyone uninformed.

Disclaimer: no chicks were harmed in the release process."

Nick Vatic, Pacific Region

Melissa Wright of Pacific Customs Brokers Ltd. recognized Nick Vatic.

"Officer Nick Vatic has been a tremendous help to us here at Pac Hwy with several challenging situations.  He has a willingness to listen to the views of colleagues in the private sector, and recognizes the issues and concerns that we are faced with.  He offers clear and insightful direction to ensure trade compliance for both us, and our clients."

Scott Breckon, Prairie Region

Jodi Lynn Kompelien of FedEx Trade Networks (FTN), Transport & Brokerage (Canada), Inc. recognized Scott Breckon.

"Scott is always polite, helpful and a pleasure to deal with.  We have been working with Scott over the past year and half. Scott consistently keeps track of shipments that get held by CBSA after an inspection has been completed and ensures that they are expedited. He is very well organized and ensures that the number of shipments sitting in the CBSA warehouse are always at a minimum."

Claude Lemoine, Prairie Region

Alan Dewar of GHY International recognized Claude Lemoine.

"It is such a challenge to nominate or 'single out' a STAR in the Prairie Region as our region is filled with STARS.  Each CBSA team member in the Prairies shines and share a common purpose of facilitation of trade while protecting our borders.

However, this individual is certainly worth of CSCB acknowledgement on behalf of our industry and the trade community. 

Claude Lemoine is regularly called upon by the brokerage/trade community to share his vast knowledge, understandings and perspectives of CBSA Rules and Regulations with honesty and integrity.  Claude is constantly researching answers in the ever changing trade landscape and is always approachable, available, and responsive to provide critical responses that support key business plans and decisions."

Dennis Ross, Prairie Region

Alan Dewar of GHY International recognized Dennis Ross.

"It is such a challenge to nominate or 'single out' a STAR in the Prairie Region as our region is filled with STARS. Each CBSA team member in the Prairies shines and share a common purpose of facilitation of trade while protecting our borders.

However, this individual is certainly worth of CSCB acknowledgement on behalf of our industry and the trade community.

Dennis Ross serves on CBSA's regional liaison committee with CSCB Customs Brokers. And 'serve' is the best way to describe the role of Dennis. Dennis 'embraces' each question and 'owns' it to conclusion whether or not it falls under his area of focus within the Department. Dennis takes the time to research, champion, path-find and provide education that benefits the trade community directly."

Rhonda Alsop, Prairie Region

Alan Dewar of GHY International recognized Rhonda Alsop.

"It is such a challenge to nominate or 'single out' a STAR in the Prairie Region as our region is filled with STARS. Each CBSA team member in the Prairies shines and share a common purpose of facilitation of trade while protecting our borders.

However, this individual is certainly worth of CSCB acknowledgement on behalf of our industry and the trade community.

When members of the trade community hear of an audit there is a recognition that risks may surface. The risk is either financial or relational or both. Rhonda Alsop's approach to audit involves the highest degree of professionalism, education, and collaboration. Her attention to detail is beyond reproach and her ability to convey findings in a respectful manner across all levels of the trade supply chain are to be commended."

Nicholas Houle, Prairie Region

Rosanne Williams of LEI Customs Brokers Inc. recognized Nicholas Houle.

"I wanted to obtain more information regarding SWI and the removal of Form 1. Nick was not aware of the details but instead of making me feel "inferior" he made it a point to delve into the topic deeper over the next few days and always called me back when he received additional information. I really appreciated his efforts and his understanding. I've been doing this for 24 years and I've had my fair share of "jerks". People like him make up for it."

Richard Lepage, CBSA HQ Ottawa

Emma Million of DHL Global Forwarding (Canada) Inc. recognized Richard Lepage.

"Mr. Lepage always makes himself available to hear our requests for guidance on origin issues. He takes the time to return our calls in a timely manner to go over our question in detail and he is always willing to provide guidance promptly, in writing, when requested.

Mr. Lepage is a pleasure to deal with and is a consistently reliable source for us whenever we have origin and valuation issues that need clarification."

Heather Mawhinney, CBSA HQ Ottawa

Tammy Nanticoke of Hartwick O'Shea & Cartwright Limited recognized Heather Mawhinney.

"Over the years, Heather has provided exemplary service.  Heather is always very pleasant, patient and helpful, key traits in excellent customer service.

There have been many 'grey area' questions regarding certain goods, and whether they will/will not qualify under the temporary admissions regulations.  Heather's expertise and guidance and clarification of the regulations for some of these "outside the norm" importations has helped to alleviate importer concerns and ensuring compliance with the regulations.

It's always nice to have your call answered and/or returned!"

Alyn Lunt, GTA Region

Yvan Beaulieu of J. René Hébert Ltée. recognized Alyn Lunt.

"Mr. Lunt has guided me to the right place to file a further re-determination B2 to be processed under section 59 1b) of C.A., due to new information which was received very late.

It is not just the fact he gave me the right information, he has also been in touch with me to finalize the files. Without his help, I would not get the B2 processed as the time limit was reaching the end of the 4 years.

Happily, the final decision was in our favor, but without Mr. Lunt, I would not have found where to send the B2 requests in time and what documentation was necessary to avoid a reject and lose the opportunity to get a refund for our customer."

Mau'veen Dayrell-Johnson, GTA Region

Kim Campbell of mkmarin trade services inc. recognized Mau'veen Dayrell-Johnson.

"Mau'veen is always very responsive and helpful. She processes requests quickly and answers any questions in a professional and friendly manner. You can always rely on her consistent handling of Trade Show requests which allows our clients to spend time focusing on their business and not in an overly official  government process.

We would like to recognize and thank her for her excellent service each and every time."

Lindsay Lever, Southern Ontario Region

Tom Ferguson of Livingston International Inc. recognized Lindsay Lever.

"Lindsay is always cheerful, helpful and always willing to do what she can to help.  I know all of us here at Livingston that have had the pleasure of working with Lindsay, appreciate everything that she does. Lindsay is a person who goes over and above to help where and when she can. I just can’t say enough good things about how helpful she has been not only this past year, but over several years."

Yves Boudreau, Quebec Region

Michael Zobin of Livingston International Inc. recognized Yves Boudreau.

"Always helpful in answering questions regarding Duty Relief applications and very clear when outlining requirements during a verification."

Tomasz Bialowas, Quebec Region

Melanie Bedard of Milgram & Company Limited recognized Tomasz Bialowas.

"Tom is very knowledgeable in his area of responsibility and very helpful; he always responds in a timely and professional manner.  He is very easy to talk to and he makes us feel like he appreciates working with us as much as we appreciate working with him.  When our clients come to us with inquiries we are confident that we will get a quick and accurate answer that will help us service our client efficiently and accurately due to the excellent service from Tom."

Sophie Lemyre, Quebec Region

Michelle Stokes of UPS - Supply Chain Solutions recognized Sophie Lemyre.

"I worked with Sophie on a Voluntary Disclosure and she was a pleasure to work with. Sophie was prompt with her communication, knowledgeable, understanding and very fair in her approach to a sensitive file. She made what can feel like an intimidating and risky event into a great customer experience with the CBSA."

Darren Scott, Atlantic Region

Sarah Kennedy of Beaver Brokerage Inc. recognized Darren Scott.

"For many years, Darren worked as BSO and over the past few years has been one of the commercial superintendents. He is an all around great person, always has time for the customs brokers when we have issues, comments, concerns,etc. He may not always have the answer we would like to have in the end but he handles things thoroughly and in a professional manner. He is always interested in hearing of upcoming matters from CSCB, CBSA and is always happy to hear from us after returning from a national CSCB Conference. Sometimes BSO's/superintendents are the last to be introduced to upcoming changes/events, etc.

I think I can speak on behalf of all of the brokers here at port 212 when I say we really appreciate the job he does as well as the respect he gives us as brokers.

Garnet Foster, Atlantic Region

Sarah Kennedy of Beaver Brokerage Inc. recognized Garnet Foster.

"Garnet is a great individual, who always has time for customs brokers. He considers our issues or concerns with interest and respect. We don't always agree but he is always professional and thorough."

Gillen Reed, Atlantic Region

Aurelia Wong of EDI Customs Brokers Inc. recognized Gillen Reed.

"We had a highly time sensitive K84 issue, Gillen was willing to listen and explore solutions. Her professionalism, efficiency, willingness to help makes it truly a pleasure to work with her.  We need more Gillens in every port, this would definitely make a customs brokers’ task a lot easier."

To view articles on past Stars and ceremonies, please refer to 2012 and 2013.