In 2017, the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) INNOV-A-THON continued to bring out the best from CBSA employees. Based on the 2015 App Challenge, hosted by the Privy Council Office, this initiative allows the CBSA to tap into the collective thinking, background, expertise and knowledge of all its employees, regardless of their role or level by empowering them to bring forth ideas on how we can better serve travellers and Canadians. This year, the INNOV-A-THON resulted in two winning ideas for improved efficiency and service.
Tim Armaly from the Communications Directorate (and formerly Operations Branch) in the Southern Ontario Region, won for his Team Model for Port of Entry Operations, an alternate method for managing border operations at larger ports of entry. According to Tim’s concept, each team would consist of a chief with a number of superintendents and officers reporting to him or her. These teams would then be scheduled together, so on any particular shift, there would be several teams available to manage a number of primary lines and any referrals from those lines. The model encourages a cohesive working environment that allows more thorough feedback to the officers as they manage their career goals and development. Training can be done as a group, so that the team is developed at the same time. The Team model also gives newer officers and more experienced officers the chance to work together, sharing experiences and building camaraderie.
The second winning idea from the 2016 INNOV-A-THON was the concept of adding client ID photo in the Global Case Management System (GCMS), submitted by Patrick O’Byrne, Information, Science and Technology Branch; Sam Rosu, Greater Toronto Area Region, Operations Branch; and Marin Debruyn, Pacific Region, Operations Branch. The team’s idea expands on the development of a digital photo application called CBSA Client ePhoto, which allows officers to quickly check the photo of a client to verify identity. Other CBSA offices across the country have inquired as to the availability of the CBSA Client ePhoto system on a national basis. Other areas within the CBSA are building off this tool by creating a web version that now has over 20,000 client photos and potential using the ePhoto system to replace a Rolodex photo card system. The CBSA lab in Ottawa is currently using photos from the ePhoto system for their Faces on The Move facial recognition project.
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