The Canada Border Services Agency is facing serious security questions after a number of uniforms were found discarded in a Vancouver dumpster.
According to CTV Vancouver, homeless blogger Stanley Q. Woodvine discovered the uniforms late last month in the Fairview neighbourhood, near 15th Avenue and Fir Street, and alerted authorities.
“I don’t know if other binners or dumpster divers helped themselves to a shirt. It’s been over two weeks since I took the photos and the shirts are long gone,” Woodvine wrote in a recent post.
According to CBSA policy, uniforms are only to be thrown out after all agency identification is removed. The uniforms photographed by Woodvine had CBSA patches on the shoulders.
The CBSA confirmed it’s launched an internal investigation into how the shirts ended up in the dumpster, and cautioned that pretending to be a peace officer is a crime.
“Uniforms with CBSA identification remain the property of the Government of Canada,” the agency said in an email statement.
A spokesman told CTV News the uniforms haven't been recovered but there were no serial numbers on them. He couldn't say whether officers swept the area where the photos were taken to look for them.
Border security expert Josh Labove said the incident is a potential embarrassment to the agency, and raises questions about how closely CBSA protocol is followed.
“It represents a lapse in judgment for at least one person,” he said, “but it’s a pretty sizable cache of uniforms, which begs the question: was more than one person involved?”
The CBSA has only been around for 11 years, Labove added, and is still facing some learning curves.
“We need to remember that this organization that we’ve come to know and expect seeing at the border is still very young and still has a lot of learning to do, a lot of development still to do,” he said.
“They’re still two years away from getting all of the border officers to the point of being armed.”