10/15/2012 09:40 EDT | Updated 12/15/2012 05:12 EST

Border service officers get new $57M training facility

A new training centre for Canada Border Services Agency officers opened in Rigaud, about 50 minutes west of Montreal.

Public Security Minister Vic Toews was at the inauguration for the new $57.7 million facility.

He said the centre was built "so that Canadians can be assured that the training that these officers receive is the best in the world for the type of service that they are providing."

Trainees will take part in a variety of exercises, including simulations to test judgment skills and gun shooting.

Two new firing ranges, that count 18 rows each, have also been added to the facility.

"They spent around 40 hours on the range, so half a day every day is spent on the range so they [can] work on marksmanship skills as well as tactical skills," said Marc-André Leclerc, one of the training supervisors.

The union representing Canada's border guards expressed concerns about cuts affecting public security but both Toews and the head of the CBSA insist there are no cuts to the front lines and that the facility will ensure more guards get better training.

"Until this facility was created, we were actually training our officers [by] sending them out into the field and then we would have to train them for arming down the road. So this will allow us to do both together," said Luc Portelance, president of the CBSA.

The border agency plans to train 1,000 officers every year until 2016. By this time, the CBSA expects to see 5,500 armed guards in place rather than the current 2,100.