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Roadside Safety Blitz Nabs Illegal Workers

TORONTO— Some commercial vehicle safety blitzes seem to serve a double purpose: to check vehicle safety and to arrest undocumented migrants.

Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officers arrested 21 people on immigration violations during a joint commercial vehicle safety blitz conducted between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. last week in the Wilson Ave. area between Jane St. and Highway 400 in Toronto.

Truck drivers should be aware that the province of Ontario is using roadside checks not only to check their vehicle’s safety but may also require their personal identification information and have all their paperwork ready to go to avoid delays and possible detention.

New Democrat MPP Teresa Armstrong wrote to the feds: “The objective of commercial vehicle safety blitzes (is) to . . . ensure that commercial vehicles are properly maintained and safe for the road under the provincial Highway Traffic Act — not for immigration-related interrogations, arrests and deportation.”

Armstrong questioned why the province’s resources are used to aid in a federal operation and whether such co-operation is routine.

A spokesperson for Transportation Minister Steve Del Duca told the Toronto Star that the Aug. 14 incident was not the first time the department had worked with the CBSA.

“MTO has previously taken part in enforcement initiatives with traffic safety partners like the OPP, the Ministry of the Environment, the CBSA, the Toronto Bylaw Office, and others. Each group has separate responsibilities,” he said. “We were not involved in any activities related to the undocumented workers.”

People arrested on immigration warrants were sent to detention centres and some have already been deported, according to media reports. 

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