December 19, 2013
The Government of Canada is committed to improving the flow of goods and people over a more secure Canada-U.S. border. To this end, on December 19, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Barack Obama, President of the United States, welcomed the release of the second annual Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report. This report outlines the progress made by Canada and the United States to implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan - an agreement that was put in place to enhance our mutual security, prosperity and economic competitiveness. In Canada, it was submitted to Prime Minister Harper by Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, and Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and to President Obama by John Kerry, Secretary of State, in the United States.
The Beyond the Border Action Plan was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Barack Obama, President of the United States, on December 7, 2011. The Action Plan, which was founded on establishing a perimeter approach to security and enhancing economic competitiveness, includes an ambitious series of initiatives with a view to deepening the long-term partnership between Canada and the United States.
The second annual Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report shows that progress is being made to improve the movement of people and goods across the Canada-United States border by addressing risks at the earliest possible point.
During the first two years of implementation of the Action Plan, Canada and the United States have worked to establish a strategic foundation for joint border management that will result in long-term benefits for citizens and businesses in both countries. Considerable focus has been put on pilot projects designed to test innovative approaches to cooperation and border clearance, business systems integration and border process harmonization, and to the sharing of information to build a better path forward. While a strong foundation is being built through this ambitious long-term vision, the benefits are already being realized and many more are expected to come as implementation of the multi-year Action Plan continues.
Key 2013 Canada and United States accomplishments under the four pillars of the Action Plan include:
Addressing Threats Early
Advanced the concept of international cargo being “cleared once, accepted twice,” whereby goods are coming from offshore flow between Canada and the U.S. more efficiently by inspecting cargo when it first arrives in Canada or the U.S. (at the perimeter), so duplicative re-inspection at the Canada-U.S. land border can be reduced or eliminated. Progress included finalizing an Integrated Cargo Security Strategy and undertaking offshore cargo pilot projects at Prince Rupert, British Columbia and Montréal, Quebec, as well as a pre-load air cargo pilot, each designed to validate and shape the implementation of the strategy;
Announced $49.9 million for two new marine container examination facilities that will strengthen border operations, by improving marine container inspection capacity and improving efficiency at Port Metro Vancouver. These new facilities will help reduce processing times, resulting in savings for Canadian businesses while protecting the health, safety and security of Canadians; and,
Deepened our border and immigration integrity by deploying Phase II of a joint Entry/Exit program at the common land border, whereby the record of entry into one country by land becomes the record of exit from the other country for third-country nationals (those who are neither citizens of Canada nor of the United States), permanent residents of Canada who are not U.S. citizens, and lawful permanent residents of the United States who are not Canadian citizens.
Trade, Economic Growth and Jobs
Improved the movement of low-risk travellers between and within Canada and the U.S. by increasing membership in the NEXUS trusted traveller program by approximately 50 per cent to more than 917,000 since the Action Plan was announced in 2011, in response to additional time-saving benefits. In other words, over a quarter of a million more people are now taking advantage of expanded benefits and expedited processing when travelling between or within Canada and the U.S.
NEXUS members are now provided with access to a dedicated CATSA passenger screening line at 14 Canadian airports, reducing wait times even when they are not travelling to the U.S. Canadian citizens who are NEXUS members are eligible for access to Pre-√ lanes at more than 100 airports in the U.S. In addition, NEXUS members are now also eligible to use Global Entry kiosks when flying to the U.S., even if they are coming from a third country;
Made border crossing faster through the expansion of NEXUS lanes and booths at the Peace Bridge (Fort Erie, Ontario), Pacific Highway (Surrey, British Columbia), the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge (Queenston, Ontario), Lacolle, Quebec and Windsor, Ontario.
Improved joint planning of border infrastructure through the release of the first ever joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan and announced $127 million in investments for infrastructure at four key land border crossings: North Portal, Saskatchewan ($10 million); Emerson, Manitoba ($10 million); Lansdowne, Ontario ($60 million); and at Lacolle, Quebec ($47 million);
Expanded eligibility for expedited customs clearance by an estimated 1.5 million shipments into Canada alone, reducing transaction costs for shippers, couriers and customers in both countries by tens of millions of dollars each year through increasing and harmonizing the threshold for low-value shipments;
Facilitated cross-border business travel, making it more efficient and predictable. This was accomplished by providing enhanced training and guidance to border officers and changing the rules to treat after-lease service as equivalent to after-sales service, an important improvement for Canadian firms that are increasingly leasing, rather than selling, machinery to American clients. We also committed to continued annual consultations on this critical issue;
Tested pre-inspection for U.S.-bound commercial truck traffic by successfully implementing Phase I of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot at the Pacific Highway crossing in Surrey, British Columbia; and,
Began preparations for Phase II of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot to be undertaken in Fort Erie, Ontario, to test the feasibility of reducing wait times and border congestion by conducting U.S. primary inspection of U.S.-bound commercial trucks in Canada.
Cross Border Law Enforcement
Improved border security and continuity of law enforcement across the border in shared waterways by deploying regularized Shiprider teams in British Columbia/Washington State and Ontario/Michigan, and conducted Shiprider surge operations at other locations in the Great Lakes and Atlantic regions; and,
Improved border security and law enforcement by initiating bi-national radio interoperability between Canada and U.S. law enforcement personnel in British Columbia/Washington State and Ontario/Michigan. This technology permits law enforcement on both sides of the border to coordinate bi-national investigations and timely responses to border incidents, while improving public and officer safety.
Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity
Improved response to cybersecurity threats by advancing the Public Safety Canada/Department of Homeland Security 2012 joint Cybersecurity Action Plan, which includes enhanced cyber incident management coordination between national cyber operations centers, increased joint cybersecurity engagement with the private sector, and cybersecurity public awareness-raising efforts.
Consistent with timelines in the Action Plan, a number of initiatives are still in progress. These include improving the screening of travellers into Canada through the development of an Electronic Travel Authorization for non-visa countries other than the United States, and the complementary Interactive Advance Passenger Information System, both of which are scheduled to be implemented by December 2015.
Both countries remain committed to fully implementing initiatives that have fallen behind the original target dates but are making progress, including:
Speeding up the clearance of cross-border movement of goods through the alignment of trusted trader programs;
Reducing the administrative burden on importers and exporters through the deployment of single windows in Canada and the U.S. through which importers can electronically submit all government-required information and receive a coordinated approval;
Implementing a perimeter approach to screening inbound cargo through the full implementation of the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy; and,
Allowing for innovative applications of efficient approaches to joint border management through the completion of a preclearance agreement for the land, rail and marine modes as well as an update to the existing preclearance agreement for the air mode.
We remain committed to the Action Plan and are focused on achieving our longer-term objective of enhancing the Canada-United States border management partnership. We intend to sharpen our focus on those initiatives currently underway that are of particular importance to business and industry, many of which are multi-agency, IT-enabled projects. Delivering on these initiatives is vital to strengthening economic competitiveness and securing the efficient flow of goods and people.
Furthermore, we continue to strive for transparency, accountability and partnership, providing ongoing information to the public through press releases and website updates, and will continue to learn from extensive and constructive engagement with stakeholders in Canada, the United States and partner agencies across both governments. Over the coming year, stakeholder engagement will be deepened by establishing a process for more regular and extensive consultations and our Government will keep Canadians informed of progress on the Action Plan throughout the year.
Further progress updates will continue to be made available through face-to-face engagement and regular updates to the website www.actionplan.gc.ca/border.
2nd Annual Canada-United States Beyond The Border Action Plan Implementation Report (1)