Customs Border Services
Available as a two-year program
Two-year Ontario College Diploma
- Start Date
September and January entry
Find your career
Graduates of this innovative program are extremely well regarded by employers and business is booming. In just two years, you can train for a lucrative career within the government or the private sector:
• Employers include private businesses, customs brokerages importing and exporting and freight forwarders that ship goods throughout the world.
• Graduates are permitted to enrol in the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) Certified Customs Specialist (CCS) course without having to meet the one-year work requirement.
Graduates are also qualified for front-line positions with the Canada Border Services Agency:
- Oversee border services for millions of people travelling by air, car, rail and boat.
- Welcome more than 200,000 immigrants and refugees to Canada each year.
- Administer import and export requirements for animals and plants.
- Use the latest training and technology to keep illicit drugs, firearms and harmful pests and diseases from entering the country.
- Can progress to careers in intelligence, auditing and investigations, with field experience.
Our grads get great jobs
- Border Services Officer, Canada Border Services Agency
- Municipal Law Enforcement Officer, City of Mississauga
- Enforcement Officer, Canada Border Services Agency
- Customs Release Analyst, Livingston International
- Border Services Officer, Pearson International Airport
Is it for you?
People enter justice studies from all different backgrounds. Those who thrive in Customs Border Services are the ones who have:
- Good judgment
- A keen eye for detail
- An appreciation of Canada’s rich cultural diversity
What employers say
“Our placement students have been enthusiastic, technically strong and open to experiencing the challenges of the work environment. It is evident that Loyalist has prepared them for the ‘real’ working world.”
Elizabeth Lorincz, Director, Consulting Eastern Region
We believe in preparing by doing, with hands-on experience and cutting-edge technology:
- Through experiential learning, develop essential skills in listening, observing, critical thinking, conflict management and decision making.
- Gain a deeper understanding of global diversity through the development of your awareness and understanding of legislation and regulations.
- Experience the role of a border services officer in a virtual learning environment, completing the inspection procedure and questioning unknown travellers as you would in real life.
- Practise searching for and identifying contraband during forensic vehicle searches.
- Develop your proficiency in computer applications used in public and private customs-related industry.
Loyalist is a pioneer in virtual learning:
- The introduction of Canadian border simulations in the Loyalist curriculum resulted in dramatically higher test results, particularly in the areas of bilingual greeting, mandatory questions, assessing resident status and overall professionalism.
Outstanding faculty make the difference
- Learning takes place in smaller classes with dedicated and experienced instructors.
- The program coordinator has 32 years of experience as a border service officer as well as a distinguished career in education with expertise in Canadian border simulation technology, earning an Educational Technology Award and the Peace Officer Exemplary Award.
- Teaching stays up-to-date on industry trends and technology with feedback from professionals working in the field.
Multiply your options in justice studies
During a common first year with other justice programs, you will gain insights into human behaviour and Canada’s social and political structures that provide a solid foundation for related careers. The program offers the flexibility to transfer directly into Year Two of:
- Community and Justice Services
- Police Foundations
- Protection, Security and Investigation
- First Year - Semester One
- LAWS1008 Canadian Criminal Justice System
- This course provides students with an overview of the Canadian criminal justice system with a particular emphasis on the function, role and organization of the primary components of the system. There will be particular focus on; victims, enforcement, courts, corrections and the political framework under which the Canadian Criminal Justice System operates. The function of the criminal justice system will be examined in relation to issues affecting the system.
- COMM1048 College Writing Skills
- This course focuses on writing and research skills required for successful completion of college-level studies. The course will promote development and improvement of research and writing skills that can be applied to students’ chosen programs of study.
- ETHI1000 Ethical Considerations in Justice
- This course focuses on concepts of critical thinking and ethical issues faced by individuals in their personal and professional lives. Theories of morality and professional codes of ethics will be examined. Students identify and clarify their values and learn the basics of moral reasoning and ethical behaviour. Students apply critical thinking skills and ethical decision-making models to personal and professional dilemmas.
- COMM1051 Interpersonal & Group Dynamics
- In this introductory level course, students learn to apply knowledge from interpersonal relations and group dynamics to working in a team. Emphasis will be placed on developing awareness of one's self to enhance effective communications individually and in groups.
- FITN1010 Lifestyle Management & Fitness 1
- Students will develop an understanding of wellness concepts and practical strategies for developing a healthy lifestyle. Students study and implement prerequisites for developing and maintaining personal physical fitness programs. Students will develop and implement personal strategies to meet fitness standards required by the various justice agencies.
- SOCI1003 Sociology
- Sociology and Canadian Society is an introductory course in which the basics of sociology and social theory are presented. Topics include social theory, research methods, culture, socialization, race and ethnicity, and family.
- GNED General Education Elective
- General Education Courses
- First Year - Semester Two
- PROF1014 Career Resource Development
- This course focuses on developing strategies, attributes and skills to assist the learner with preparation for future employment within the Justice fields. Content includes establishing a positive professional image, developing a career plan, résumé writing, professional presentations and exploration of future career options.
- SOCI1018 Conflict Management & Crisis Intervention
This course is designed to develop the first responder's ability to intervene safely and effectively in situations involving interpersonal conflict and/or individuals in crisis. Intervention techniques will be stressed along with practical application of effective communication skills, which are essential to safely manage anxious, disruptive, suicidal and violent behaviours.
Prerequisite: COMM 1051
- LAWS1003 Criminal and Civil Law
This course examines various aspects of the Canadian criminal law system, including the Criminal Code of Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and laws pertaining to the classification, collection and presentation of evidence. Various components of civil law, including tort, contract, property, family and employment law are explored.
Prerequisite: LAWS 1008
- SOCI1016 Criminology
This course is an examination of the contemporary theories of crime and deviance. The application of sociological, biological and psychological theories to specific areas of crime and deviance will be explored. Learners will examine victimology, and will also apply theories and crime data to demonstrate knowledge of criminal justice legislation and policy initiatives.
Prerequisite: SOCI 1003
- LAWS1009 Issues in Diverse Populations
- In this course, students critically identify and examine issues in diversity. Specifically, students focus on topics pertaining to inequality in various social settings, including but not limited to: race, gender, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation. Incorporating social/legal explanations of diversity, students develop a clear understanding of the impacted groups and possible strategies of community empowerment. The student is encouraged to increase the knowledge and awareness of important issues in the Indigenous cultures of Canada. The legal status of Indigenous peoples is explored along with Indigenous rights and self-determination. Other critical issues relating to land claims, justice and social services are studied.
- FITN1011 Lifestyle Management & Fitness 2
Lifestyle Management and Fitness 2 includes an introduction to physical standards required in the criminal justice field. This course will also explore health issues commonly associated with careers in the criminal justice fields (including back health, stress and shift work). Students will learn to self-assess their own physical fitness and formulate and implement a plan to improve personal fitness conditions.
Prerequisite: FITN 1010
- PSYC1003 Psychology
- This introductory-level course introduces students to terminology, concepts, and theories of psychology, including the historical development of psychology, biological basis of behaviour, learning and memory, perception and consciousness, motivation, lifespan and personality development, and abnormal behaviour.
- GNED General Education Elective
- General Education Courses
- Second Year - Semester Three
- CUST2002 Border Services - Legislation & Procedures 1
This is an introductory course to the application of legislation and regulations as they govern the importation and the exportation of goods into and out of Canada.
Prerequisite: LAWS 1008, LAWS 1003
- CUST2000 Border Services - Statutes and Regulations
This course is designed to introduce the legal responsibilities of a Border Services Officer (BSO). The learner will examine pertinent sections of the Criminal Code, the Immigration & Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms. These Acts and laws will outline the legal and moral obligations to sustain a safe, secure and economically protected country. This course will also examine CBSA sanctioned methods of arrest and defensive tactical maneuvers which enhance the abilities of a BSO when performing their duties at the border. The learner will have a full appreciation of the role CBSA and its Officers play in the protection of Canada.
Prerequisite: LAWS 1008, LAWS 1003
- CUST2003 Brokerage and Logistics 1
- Students are introduced to the Import and Export Business, the first part concentrating on the customs brokerage industry in Canada. This course looks at the movement of goods, geographical problems that may occur in transportation and general transportation systems (logistics) in other words, looking into the world of freight forwarders.
- COMM2017 Essential Communications for Border Services
This course will build upon its prerequisites. The successful learner will become proficient in various communication processes that are regularly required in the customs border services field.
Prerequisite: COMM 1048
- WKPL2005 Field Practicum 1
- This is the first of two practicum courses. It is designed to provide students with the chance to observe career opportunities and perform a variety of assigned tasks within a workplace environment.
- FITN2009 Lifestyle Management & Fitness 3
This course will continue to build on the knowledge and skills gained in the Fitness and Lifestyle Management 1 and 2 courses. Students will increase their sense of personal wellness, which will assist them in their future justice careers. Students will also become familiar with the requirements of common fitness tests that are utilized by justice employers, and will work towards achieving those requirements.
Prerequisite: FITN 1011
- PSYC2013 Mental Health & Substance Use
This course introduces a variety of mental health and substance use issues, including verbal and non-verbal behaviours, signs and symptoms of impairment, and civil commitment. The course provides a framework for mental health assessment along with relevant intervention strategies.
Prerequisite: PSYC 1003
- PROF2005 Placement Preparation
- A course designed to prepare students for their field placement practicum in the customs, immigration, brokerage, freight forwarder and private industry fields. A computer/math component is built into this area of study.
- GNED General Education Elective
- General Education Courses
- Second Year - Semester Four
- CUST2008 Border Services - Legislation & Procedures 2
Students have an in-depth look into the working and practices of customs administration. Students gain a working knowledge of customs requirements in reference to regulations, and administration of the importation and exportation of goods is stressed.
Prerequisite: CUST 2002
- PROF2031 Border Services Career Preparation
- Students prepare for a career with the Canada Border Services Agency by focusing on industry standardized testing, fitness and competency-based interviewing. Students will also identify alternate prospective employers in the customs compliance field. Lastly, students will develop strategies to enhance their personal and professional development by focusing on networking and volunteering.
- CUST2006 Brokerage and Logistics 2
This course furthers students’ knowledge in the import and export business, concentrating on the customs brokerage and transportation industry in Canada. Also the course looks at the movement of goods, geographical problems that may occur in transportation and general transportation systems in depth.
Prerequisite: CUST 2003
- COMM2018 Communication Competencies for Enforcement
This course will provide students with an overview of the communication competencies needed within the field as it relates to enforcement.
Prerequisite: COMM 2017
- COMP2014 Customs Computer Applications
A course that is computer based with practical applications, leading students through the Canadian import and export process with actual data, forms and computer usage.
Prerequisite: CUST 2000, CUST 2002
- WKPL2006 Field Practicum 2
- This is a work placement/practicum course designed to provide students with the opportunity to observe career functions related to Customs Border Services and perform a variety of assigned tasks to satisfy work placement objectives. At the discretion of the placement host, students will be assigned practical tasks that enable them to enhance Customs Border Service-related knowledge and skills.
- CUST2009 Forensic Search
- This course consists of a lecture and lab component. Students will gain knowledge regarding applicable legislation, methodology and evidence handling while performing an examination as a Border Services Officer. Students will be given the opportunity to practise the knowledge gained in lecture through a hands-on lab.
- CUST2010 Immigration Fundamentals
This course will profile Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canada’s immigration service since its inception. It will provide an in-depth look into how the IRCC plays a part in the Canada Border Services Agency, emphasizing border control, documentation processing and enforcement functions. Students will be presented with a broad-base of information as it relates to both inland and land-border immigration procedures.
Prerequisite: CUST 2000
*Courses subject to change.
Loyalist offers flexible learning
- You can start your two-year program in September or January
- A common first-year curriculum allows the flexibility to transfer directly into year two of Community and Justice Services, Police Foundations or Protection, Security and Investigation
Turn your diploma into a degree
Many universities across Canada and abroad will provide credit recognition for your diploma studies at Loyalist. The following is a list of agreements that are currently in place. There are many more options, and new agreements are added annually. Contact your university of choice to make individual arrangements.
- Algoma University – B.A.; B.B.A.; B.Sc.; Bachelor of Computer Science
- Athabasca University – Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services or Criminal Justice
- Brock University – various*
- Davenport University – Bachelor of Arts in Public Safety and Security Management
- Lakehead University – various*
- Laurentian University – various*
- Laurier Brantford – any honours program
- Nipissing University – various*
- Seneca College – Bachelor of Interdiscipinary Studies
- Ontario Tech University – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Criminology and Justice or Forensic Psychology; B.A. Adult Education and Digital Technology
- University of Waterloo – various*
- Wilfrid Laurier University – various*
- York University – various*
* Various potential degree pathways. Please confirm details with the receiving institution.
How much will it cost?
Approximate costs (2019 – 20)
- Domestic Tuition: $2,722.08
- Full-Time Ancillary Fees:* $1,301
- Total: $4,023.08
Additional costs, such as supplies, travel and parking, may be incurred during workplace visits, etc.
*Please visit the Tuition and Fees web page for a list of the many services, activities and items included within the ancillary fees, and the related policies.
Bursaries and financial assistance
Loyalist has a number of scholarships, bursaries and academic awards available to students. Our Financial Aid Office can help you explore your options, or assist you with a student loan.
Required academic preparation
- OSSD/OSSGD or equivalent with courses at the general, advanced, (C), (U) or (M) level, AND
- Grade 12 English (C) level or equivalent
- Mature applicant
- Applicants with a related degree or diploma may be considered for advanced standing or direct entry into year two; please review your qualifications with the program coordinator.
Applicants who possess a related college diploma (i.e. human studies, justice services) are eligible for direct entry into year two of the program.
Applicants who possess an unrelated college diploma are considered on a case-by-case basis for direct entry into year two.
Applicants who possess a university degree are eligible for direct entry into year two of the program; however, applicants should meet with their program coordinator regarding appropriate course and program planning.
Please Note: Direct entry is subject to availability. Direct entry into year two, semester three is only available during the Fall term. Applicants interested in applying for direct entry should contact Enrolment Services to discuss next steps before completing an application at ontariocolleges.ca.
- Criminal Record Check (Vulnerable Sector Check may also be required).
- Valid First Aid and CPR (Level C) with AED certificate.
- It is strongly recommended that applicants have a high level of physical fitness.
- Applicants with special needs or limitations that may affect their potential employment are encouraged to discuss their program and career goals with the coordinator prior to enrolment
Recommended academic preparation
- Mathematics and Geography
Prior learning assessment and recognition
Applicants with work experiences or other types of non-credentialed learning may be eligible for credits at Loyalist. Graded credits (as opposed to exemptions) are granted. Click here for more information about our assessment and credit challenge process.
Click here for information about how to apply, international student fees and more.
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In the News
Virtual border crossing on infiniteSpaces
Customs Border Services student Ronald Leamen takes his turn at a virtual border crossing, one of the Virtual Learning Experiences created by Loyalist College’s infiniteSpaces.
A student display on BTS Brokerage.