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FBC Tribute to Luc Portelance

Canada-U.S. Border Community Mourns the Loss of Luc Portelance

Luc Portelance, February 14, 1960 ~ April 19, 2023


We note with sadness the passing of Luc Portelance, former President of the Canada Border Services Agency, and champion of Canada-U.S. border relations.

As Luc’s obituary notes, “He was a natural leader and mentor, always willing to offer guidance and advice to those around him. He relished a good debate and was never one to shy away from a lively conversation.”

Luc had a distinguished 36-year career with the Canadian government, including five years as President of the Canada Border Services Agency (2010 – 2015). He began his career with the RCMP in Shediac, New Brunswick, in 1979, and later moved to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 1984, holding several key leadership positions, leaving as the Deputy Director of Operations.

Here are some remembrances from Luc's colleagues:

We who were fortunate enough to cross Luc’s path, professionally and personally, mourn his far too early passing. Canada and North America have lost with Luc his keen mind, stout heart and wry sense of humor that contributed significantly to improved border management of people and cargo over the past generation. He was a ‘doer’ who vigorously defended Canadian interest but never lost sight of the bigger story that he was engaged in writing. May he rest ever in peace.

Alan Bersin,

Assistant Secretary, Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2012-2017)

It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Luc Portelance. I first met Luc in 2005 where he made an immediate and lasting impression of someone who wanted to make a difference. His commitment to Canada and improving the border was profound. Even after his retirement as the President of the CBSA, he kept energizing that commitment by helping bring partners from government and industry together to tackle the problems of the day. Indeed, when I became the President of the CBSA in 2016 he gave me a long letter of things I should keep in mind as I navigated my new role. It was sage advice. Luc left us far too soon, but few have done so much.

John Ossowski,

President, Canada Border Services Agency (2016-2022)

Tributes, donations, and condolences may be made at

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