What the Action Plan will deliver to Canadian taxpayers

Washington, D.C.
7 December 2011

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.

Implementing the Action Plan will involve investments in each of the four areas of cooperation: addressing threats early, facilitating trade, economic growth and jobs, integrating cross-border law enforcement and improving critical infrastructure and cyber-security. There will be costs associated with purchasing and installing new technologies, hiring staff to run new border programs and investing in infrastructure.

A more efficient border will bring substantial returns in terms of saving both time and money.

Here is why:

A number of studies* inside and outside of government have taken a close look at the costs to Canadian importers, exporters and consumers associated with the Canada-U.S. border. According to conservative estimates, the border costs are the equivalent each year of 1 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product. In 2010, our GDP was more than $1.6 trillion. That means the border imposes costs on the Canadian economy amounting to some $16 billion a year.

Even if the Action Plan only thins the border modestly over the next five years, the savings to the Canadian economy would be several hundreds of millions of dollars a year. These savings would continue into the future. In other words, the dividends to Canadian taxpayers and the Canadian economy will far exceed the amount Canadians will invest in implementing the Action Plan and making our border with the United States more efficient.

In addition to savings for the economy as a whole, there will also be savings for individuals and businesses. For example, setting up a single window for companies to submit electronically, in one place, all the data required by governments will save the companies time and money. Increasing and harmonizing the value thresholds for expedited customs clearance and streamlining import processes for low-value shipments will minimize the cost burden at the border for these kinds of shipments. And mutually recognizing outbound checked baggage systems will eliminate redundant screening and save travellers time and money while helping to ensure their baggage gets to their destinations at the same time they do.

As it implements the Action Plan, the Government of Canada will continue to provide Canadians with a regular accounting of the benefits. Each year, an annual report will be prepared for the Prime Minister and the President on what has been implemented and what remains to be done. These reports will be provided to Parliament and made available to all Canadians.

Further details on these initiatives are available in the Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, available at www.borderactionplan.gc.ca

*Studies and Reports

-The Canada-US Border Survey Descriptive Report (Statistics Canada, 2009), corroborated by Logistics Services Industries Border Survey—Report (Statistics Canada, 2009-2011)

-A Study of the Impacts of the United States Border Security Measures on the Competitiveness of Canada’s Food Manufacturers/Exporters (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2009)

-Is Just-in-Case Replacing Just-in-Time? How Cross-Border Behaviour Has Changed since 9/11 (Conference Board of Canada, 2007)

-Sectoral and Enterprise Size Impacts of Post 9/11 Trading Environment on Canadian Exports to the US (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, 2011)

-Understanding the Canada-U.S. Border’s Impact on the Movement of People to Support the Movement of Goods (Policy Horizons Canada, 2011)

-Canada to United States—Border Crossing Study (Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, 2007)

-Cross Border Flow Analysis Study—Gaps, Challenges and Solutions (InterVistas, 2010)

-“U.S.–Canada Transportation and Logistics: Border Impacts and Costs, Causes and Possible Solutions” (John C. Taylor, Douglas R. Robideaux and George C. Jackson, Transportation Journal, 2004)

-Trucking Across the Border: The Relative Cost of Cross-border and Domestic Trucking, 2004 to 2009 (Anderson and Brown, manuscript, 2011)

-“Border Delays Re-Emerging Priority: Within-Country Dimensions for Canada” (Trien T. Nguyen and Randall M. Wigle, Canadian Public Policy 37.1 [2011])