Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President of the United States, Barack Obama, today welcomed the release of the second annual Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report.
Over the past year, significant progress has been made across all areas of work under the Action Plan. Benefits are emerging for citizens, travellers and businesses in both countries as we work together on this joint approach to perimeter security and economic competitiveness.
Among key accomplishments over the last year, Canada and the United States:
- Increased membership in the nexus trusted traveller program to more than 917,000, an increase of approximately 50% since the Beyond the Border Action Plan was announced, and provided members with additional time-saving benefits;
- Deployed an innovative joint Entry/Exit program at the common land border whereby the record of entry into one country is securely shared and 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, thereby enhancing the integrity of our immigration systems;
- Successfully implemented Phase I of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot at Pacific Highway in Surrey, British Columbia (adjacent to Blaine, Washington) in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers pre-inspected approximately 3,500 U.S.-bound commercial trucks;
- Began preparations for Phase II of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot, with an anticipated deployment in January 2014 in Fort Erie, Ontario (adjacent to Buffalo, New York), 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;
- Publicly released an Integrated Cargo Security Strategy that supports our efforts to address, as early as possible, risks associated with maritime shipments arriving from offshore, and undertook pilot projects at Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Montreal, Quebec, and in the pre-load air cargo environment to validate and shape the implementation of the strategy;
- Enhanced the administration and enforcement of our respective immigration laws by signing an agreement for the sharing of visa and immigration information on third-country nationals;
- Increased and harmonized the threshold value for low-value commercial shipments, reducing transaction costs for industry by millions of dollars each year;
- Facilitated the conduct of cross-border business, addressing most of the objectives set out in the Beyond the Border Action Plan to ensure that business travellers benefit from more efficient and predictable border clearance processes, and issued a progress report;
- Released the first joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan to ensure a mutual understanding of recent, ongoing and planned border infrastructure improvements and confirmed Canada’s immediate investment plans at key border crossings;
- Deployed Shiprider teams to provide cross-border continuity of law enforcement operations in shared waterways in British Columbia/Washington State and Ontario/Michigan, and conducted Shiprider surge operations at other locations in the Great Lakes and Atlantic regions;
- Initiated binational radio interoperability between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement personnel in British Columbia/Washington State and Ontario/Michigan; the technology permits law enforcement on both sides of the border to coordinate binational investigations and timely responses to border incidents, while improving both officer and public safety;
- Conducted the first ever cross-border Regional Resilience Assessment Program project in the New Brunswick-Maine region to improve the security and resilience of our shared critical infrastructure; and
- Strengthened cyber incident management coordination between Canada and the United States and enhanced private sector engagement and public awareness on cybersecurity.
Other initiatives are still in progress and are on track with the Beyond the Border Action Plan timelines, such as Canada’s development of an Electronic Travel Authorization and the complementary Interactive Advance Passenger Information System, both of which are scheduled to be implemented by December 2015. Several initiatives are making progress but have fallen behind the originaltarget dates due to legal or operational issues brought to light through our collaborative implementation efforts. These include the harmonization of trusted trader programs, the deployment of single windows in each of our countries through which importers can submit all government-required information, the full implementation of the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy, and 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.
Source: Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness