The Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness provides a practical road map for speeding up legitimate trade and travel across the Canada-U.S. border, while enhancing security.
More than 200,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border every day to visit friends or loved ones or to carry out legitimate business activities. In their joint Declaration in February 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama announced that both countries would be taking steps to strengthen the security of North America’s perimeter so that the flow of people, goods and services across the shared border could be made more efficient than ever.
What follows is a sampling of measures in the Action Plan that will make life easier for travellers.
Facilitating movement of travellers across the border
- Business travellers sometimes run into difficulty when trying to cross the border due to red tape and complicated administrative procedures. Under the Action Plan, administrative and operational procedures will be streamlined to provide simpler more predictable treatment for business travellers.
- Currently, flights originating in Canada with U.S. connections require bags to be screened once on departure from Canada, and again at the connecting U.S. airport, resulting in delays and increased costs for airlines and travelers. Under the Action Plan, travelling to the U.S. by air will be made easier by eliminating duplicate baggage screening over the next three and a half years, thereby reducing connection times, as well as costs.
- At the land border, wait-time service levels will be set and information made available in real time so that truckers carrying “just-in-time” shipments and other travellers can better plan their border crossings.
Enhancing the benefits of trusted traveller programs
- Programs on both sides of the border for low-risk trusted travellers will be better aligned and their benefits increased, making them a more attractive option. These additional benefits include improvements to the enrolment and renewal processes and access to dedicated lanes for pre-flight security screening at airports for flights from Canada to the U.S.; and
- Both countries will work to extend the applicability of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card for drivers to cover other specified security programs.
Investing in shared border infrastructure and technology
- Both countries will commit to a five-year Border Infrastructure Investment Plan to reduce congestion and wait times;
- Physical and technological infrastructure at the border, such as additional lanes, booths and custom plaza improvements, will be expanded in order to realize the full benefits of the improvements to programs such as NEXUS and FAST; and
- Bi-national port operations committees will work to coordinate plans and responses to port-specific issues, such as local border wait times and hours of operation, thereby improving predictable service levels for travellers and shippers.
Further details on these initiatives are available in the Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, available at www.borderactionplan.gc.ca