Canadian border guards have fired their guns only 18 times since the government equipped them with firearms a decade ago, and 11 of the shots were accidental discharges.
Another six were to euthanize wounded animals, and in one case, the weapon was used to fend off an attacking dog, according to data provided to CBC News by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
CBSA officers have drawn a duty firearm 299 times since July 2007.
Jean-Pierre Fortin, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union that represents border agents, said that figure is “significant” because it represents the number of potentially dangerous situations that were defused by firearms.
Fortin said the role of the border officer has shifted dramatically over the years. Now there is heavy focus on national security, counterterrorism and law enforcement, including intercepting impaired drivers, whereas the primary task was previously duty and tax collection.
“At the end of the day, we are the front line …