CBSA employees complain 'unconscious bias training' is racist

Can you be biased against a shipping container? Exclusive docs show Canada Border Services Agency struggled with training modules on racial profiling.

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The Canada Border Services Agency subjected border guards and other staff to “unconscious bias training” that prompted employees to wonder if the training itself was racism.

Staff were so confused that they were left to ponder if unconscious bias crept into the ways they examined shipping containers and airplanes for contraband.

The details of the 'racism you didn't even know you had' course were provided to Rebel News through access to information filings made possible by crowdfunding to our special investigations website,

In the documents, CBSA managers can be seen asking, “Does unconscious bias apply to non-human factors like a plane and a shipping container?” Trainers replied, “Bias might affect how we process a shipping container but in this course, we're talking about racial profiling so I'm not sure planes and shipping containers are strong examples.”

The national border police force was warned in internal training memos not to use “stopped” when they stopped a traveller because it was too much like “police force-type language.”

CBSA staff ultimately became so frustrated with the course, which defined unconscious bias as “like going to lunch at the cafeteria because you're busy at work instead of trying a new restaurant” that they asked for the “correct answers that will make it easier for us to 'pass' the quiz.”

Managers from the agency noted the expense of the course in comparison to the potential benefits, pointing out that the Ottawa police had undergone similar training and saw little to know tangible results.

“They however warned that the policy itself hasn't done much for them, it is a nice to have but in reality the work happens in the field.”


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