Canada and the United States are deeply interconnected by history, geography, and our people. We have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world, with two-way trade in goods and services of over $700 billion in 2012, supporting millions of jobs in each country. Canada and the United States also share the longest common border in the world, touching three oceans. Our shared border is more than a simple geographical boundary; it is also the site of more than 100 ports of entry, doors from one country to the other, where the efficient movement of people and goods is crucial to the daily lives of our citizens, the health of our communities and to the competitiveness of our economies.
Canada and the United States have a long tradition of working together to promote security and facilitate trade and travel across our borders, ensuring that they remain open to legitimate trade and travel and closed to terrorists, criminals, and illegal or unauthorized goods. This strong partnership continues. The Beyond the Border Declaration: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and its accompanying Action Plan, announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in 2011, deepen and institutionalize this cooperation at and away from the shared border.
Beyond the Border initiatives have begun to provide benefits to residents, travellers, and industry in both Canada and the United States in the realms of security, trade and travel facilitation, and emergency management. The benefits of other initiatives are expected to show results as implementation of the Action Plan continues, as both countries learn from pilots designed to test innovative approaches to cooperation and border clearance, and as our countries continue to enhance our long-term relationship.
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. The lessons learned through these efforts, and the persistence and innovation demonstrated in addressing these challenges, provide benefits not only for these particular initiatives but also for the overall Beyond the Border effort and bilateral collaboration more generally. We know, and are often reminded by stakeholders, that delivering on these Beyond the Border Action Plan initiatives is vital to strengthening economic competitiveness and secure flows of goods and people. We committed to achieving the long-term objectives of the Beyond the Border vision which will further strengthen the Canada – United States partnership.
We look forward to reporting on progress on these and other initiatives in the 2014 Beyond the Border Implementation Report. Furthermore, we continue to strive for transparency and accountability, providing ongoing information to the public through press releases and websites and outreach events, and being informed by extensive and constructive engagement with stakeholders in Canada and the United States and with partner agencies across both governments. Over the coming year, we will work closely with stakeholders by establishing a process that will allow for more regular and extensive consultations.
On February 4, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama announced the Beyond the Border Declaration and launched the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council. Both initiatives strengthen the partnership between Canada and the United States aimed at enhancing both countries’ security, prosperity and economic competitiveness while respecting each country’s sovereignty. The Beyond the Border Declaration articulates a perimeter approach to security in which Canada and the United States work together to address threats at the earliest point possible – within, at, and away from our borders – while facilitating the lawful movement of people and goods into our countries and across the shared border.
The Beyond the Border Action Plan, released by the Prime Minister and by the President in December 2011, outlines specific initiatives in support of this transformational vision. It also calls for Canada and the United States to generate a joint Beyond the Border Implementation Report annually for a three-year period, with the expectation of continuation. This is the second such annual report, and covers Beyond the Border activities from December 2012 to November 2013. The report organizes the implementation efforts into the key areas of cooperation outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration.
- Addressing Threats Early
- Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth, and Jobs
- Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement
- Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Security
Part I. Addressing Threats Early
Develop a Common Approach to Assessing Threats and Identifying Those Who Pose a Risk, Under the Principle that a Threat to Either Country Represents a Threat to Both
Canada and the United States have:
- Continued to work on joint intelligence assessments and strengthened analytic collaboration to enhance our shared understanding of the threats our countries face;
- Jointly identified domain awareness capabilities at the border, and are developing a framework for joint planning and gap analysis, which is intended to support intradepartmental efforts to establish priorities in procurement and deployment of technology along the shared border;
- Advanced joint efforts to counter violent extremism in each of our countries, including sharing research, best practices, and tools for law enforcement that emphasize community-based and community-driven efforts, and jointly engaged in multilateral forums such as the Global Counterterrorism Forum; and
- Protected personal information by ensuring that Beyond the Border information sharing initiatives, such as implementation of the Entry/Exit initiative and the Immigration Information Sharing Treaty are consistent with the Joint Statement of Privacy Principles released in June 2012.
Pushing Out the Border: Stopping Threats Before They Arrive Either in Canada or the United States
Canada and the United States have:
- Publicly released an Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS) to address risks associated with offshore cargo as early as possible and facilitate the subsequent movement of cargo across our shared land border under the principle of “cleared once, accepted twice.” The ICSS supports a secure and more economically competitive supply chain;
- Continued pilots launched in 2012 and initiated additional pilots to inform the broader implementation of the ICSS including:
- The Prince Rupert pilot, launched in October 2012, targets offshore cargo destined to the United States prior to its arrival at the marine port of Prince Rupert and allows for examinations at the perimeter before the cargo moves by train across the shared land border;
- In 2013, a complementary pilot initiated at the Port of Montreal targets offshore cargo destined to the United States by truck and across the shared border having previously been risk assessed and subject to examination at the Port of Montreal;
- Preparatory work to launch a similar pilot in Newark, New Jersey, for offshore goods destined to Canada by truck, was conducted in 2013, with launch anticipated in 2014; and
- Canada continued a pre-load air cargo targeting pilot under which air cargo destined to Canada from offshore is assessed for aviation and national security purposes prior to loading similar to a pilot already underway in the United States;
- With regard to air cargo, worked towards the mutual recognition of each other’s supply chain participants, such as shippers and freight forwarders;
- Developed a common set of data, including for in-transit shipments, required by regulatory agencies from industry stakeholders to import goods in all modes of transportation. Once fully implemented by both countries, with implementation anticipated to begin in 2014, this common data set is expected to simplify processes, reduce costs to industry, and strengthen our ability to ensure security while facilitating trade;
- Canada has also announced investments in two new marine container examination facilities to reduce processing time at the Port of Vancouver;
- Continued deployment of U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-certified Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) equipment at preclearance airports in Canada, concurrent with the U.S. decision to lift the rescreening requirement of connecting checked baggage on an airport-by-airport basis;
- Developed common procedures for conducting plant health risk assessments, which have proven to be important in conducting joint evaluations of the plant health situation and enhancing risk mitigation measures at third countries;
- Developed common procedures for conducting joint site visits for animal health in third countries. The site visit findings were incorporated into our risk assessment document and have resulted in important efficiencies in conducting our evaluations of the animal health status of third countries; and
- Developed and tested common methodologies for use when auditing the food safety system for meat and poultry in a third country, with a view toward improved efficiency and reduced risk.
Advancing Perimeter Security
Through closer collaboration between Canadian and U.S. border authorities, the ICSS pilots are resulting in faster and more predictable cross-border trade and greater perimeter security. For example, designated pilot trains from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, loaded with clean inbound marine cargo and destined to the United States, cross the Canada-U.S. border at International Falls, Minnesota in an average of 19 minutes, rather than two hours.
Establish a Common Approach to Perimeter Screening to Promote Security and Border Efficiency
Canada and the United States have:
- Collaborated on scenario-based passenger targeting methodology to support assessment of advance passenger information. Canada is working to implement an enhanced, scenario-based passenger targeting methodology;
- Signed an agreement for the systematic and automated sharing of visa and immigration information on third-country nationals, thereby enhancing each country’s administration and enforcement of their respective immigration laws;
- Shared more than 15,000 fingerprints on asylum seekers between October 2012 and September 2013, more than doubling the volume shared in the previous 12-month period, in order to identify multiple claims, strengthen identity management, bolster program integrity, and better arm decision-makers against fraud and misrepresentation;
- Completed an Entry-Exit pilot project at four common land ports of entry in British Columbia/Washington State and in Ontario/New York proving the concept that a record of entry into one country can be securely shared and considered the record of exit from the other country, with match rates of at least 95 percent; and
- Deployed the Entry-Exit program to all automated common land-border ports of entry for third-country nationals, permanent residents of Canada and lawful permanent residents of the United States, excluding the citizens of each country in this phase. This collaboration is significantly strengthening the integrity of each country’s immigration system by, for instance, enabling each country to better identify people overstaying their authorized period of stay. The agencies are securely sharing entry records of approximately 10,000 to 15,000 travellers daily, with no discernable impact on traveller experience.
Preventing Immigration Fraud
Canada and the United States have been sharing fingerprints on asylum seekers in either country since March 2010. The volume has increased significantly under the Beyond the Border Action Plan. Over the past 12 months, of the fingerprints shared by the United States with Canada, approximately 2% were matched against information held by the latter. The match rate for fingerprints shared by Canada with the United States was approximately 50%, due in part to larger U.S. biometrics holdings. This sharing provides better information to decision-makers and helps prevent fraud. In one case, a fingerprint belonging to an asylum claimant in Canada identified the claimant as a person with a different identity in the United States who also had a lengthy criminal history.
Part II. Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth, and Jobs
Enhance the Benefits of Programs that Help Trusted Businesses and Travellers Move Efficiently Across the Border
Tier I Trusted Trader programs provide businesses that meet rigorous security requirements with facilitated processing at the border. With respect to these programs:
- Canada has completed and evaluated a pilot in Sarnia, Ontario to extend the benefits of access to a dedicated Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lane and booth to participants in Canada’s Partners in Protection (PIP) program; and
- Canada and the United States have continued to harmonize the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and PIP programs, developing a joint application process for highway carriers. Canada is in the process of building a web-portal, to be interoperable with that of the United States.
For those traders that are both low risk and have invested in their business systems and processes, Tier II Trusted Trader programs offer facilitated border clearance as well as self-assessment approaches to trade compliance. To explore further alignment and potential additional benefits, Canada and the United States have:
- Released a summary of consultations with existing Tier II members and a comparison of Canada’s Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program and the U.S. Importer Self Assessment (ISA) program;
- Extended additional trade facilitation to Tier II members, including expanding eligibility to non-resident importers;
- The United States has provided single-point processing to increase efficiency and predictability for Tier II traders; and
- Canada has added the benefit of self-verification, similar to the U.S. ISA program, to its CSA program.
With respect to Trusted Traveller programs, Canada and the United States have:
- Continued to enhance the benefits of the nexus program, in which membership has grown by the end of November 2013 to more than 917,000, an increase of approximately 50% since the December 2011 release of the Beyond the Border Action Plan; and
- To match recent U.S. investments, Canada expanded 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 border crossings in 2013, additional to the three new nexus lanes in 2012, providing more efficient border clearance for low-risk travellers at these ports of entry.
More benefits for more travellers
The nexus program provides its over 917,000 members expedited processing by Canadian and U.S. officials at dedicated processing lanes at the border, at nexus kiosks at preclearance airports in Canada, and at marine reporting locations. nexus members also have access to Global Entry kiosks in U.S. airports, and are eligible to use trusted traveller security screening lines in Canadian airports as well as TSA Pre✓™ security screening lines in U.S. airports.
Develop Additional Initiatives for Expediting Legitimate Travellers and Cargo
Canada and the United States have:
- Deployed Phase I of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot in Surrey, British Columbia (adjacent to Blaine, Washington) in which U.S. CBP officers working in Canada have pre-inspected approximately 3,500 U.S.-bound commercial trucks carrying cargo eligible for FAST clearance, with nearly all proceeding with only a rolling stop at the exit booth on the U.S. side;
- Started preparation for Phase II of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot that is anticipated to begin in January 2014 at Fort Erie, Ontario (adjacent to Buffalo, New York) with the objective of testing the feasibility of reducing wait times and border congestion by conducting U.S. primary inspection on U.S.-bound commercial trucks in Canada;
- Significantly advanced negotiations on a new preclearance agreement for the land, rail, and marine modes, as well as an update to the existing preclearance agreement for the air mode, as per the Action Plan;
- Implemented improvements to U.S. preclearance operations at airports in Canada, such as signage, physical layout and automated kiosks;
- Completed a wood packaging material feasibility study to identify and address any policy, program, or operational changes required to permit advance screening of wood packaging material at the perimeter to allow for expedited processing of such shipments at the border;
- Continued efforts to facilitate cross-border business travel including:
- the training of front-line officers to improve the consistency of decisions at the border;
- changes to existing rules authorizing temporary entry of business visitors who provide after-sale service, so that they apply equally to those who provide after-lease service;
- holding a further round of consultations with stakeholders in both countries; and
- the release of a progress report on these facilitation efforts.
- As a step toward the 2016 full implementation of the Single Window initiative, whereby each country intends to provide its own single window through which importers can electronically submit all information to comply with customs and other government regulations in order to speed the process and reduce the costs of needless duplication, the United States and Canada have respectively:
- Continued converting U.S. data requirements of all participating government departments and agencies to electronic form, with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food Safety and Inspection Service now online; and
- Developed a new pre-arrival electronic message (known as an Integrated Import Declaration) that converts the essential Canadian data requirements for all participating government departments and agencies to electronic format. The Canada Border Services Agency and the top four priority departments (Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Transport Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) will, by the end of December 2013, begin testing the information exchange and interface processing required under the Single Window initiative;
- Increased and harmonized the low-value shipment (LVS) threshold in both countries to $2,500 for expedited customs clearance. Canada also increased the LVS threshold to $2,500 for exemption from North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Certificate of Origin requirements, thereby aligning it with the current U.S. threshold; and
- Published an inventory of border fees to improve transparency and accountability to the application of border fees and will commission an economic impact assessment of those fees in certain sectors in 2014.
Acting on Stakeholder Engagement
Consultations with stakeholders continue to guide and shape the implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan. For example, following stakeholder consultations on business travellers in Washington, D.C. and Toronto, Ontario in 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada decided to hold annual consultations to continue the dialogue on facilitation of cross-border business travel.
Preclearance and Pre-Inspection
Preclearance occurs when the entire clearance process of people or goods takes place in one country, for people or goods destined to another country, by the government of the receiving country. Under this process, there is generally no further inspection upon arrival into the other country. This process takes place today for air travellers to the United States from Canada.
Pre-inspection, within the context of the Beyond the Border pilots, is where the cargo inspection process begins in one country with the remainder of the inspection process completed upon arrival in the other country. An immigration pre-inspection process already exists at Victoria for ferries and for rail passengers in Vancouver en route to the United States. In this context, passengers are cleared for immigration processes and all customs and agriculture processes are completed in the United States.
Benefits for Consumers and Industry
The increase and harmonization of the Low-Value Shipment (LVS) threshold for expedited customs clearance has meant tangible benefits for customers and industry. Thousands of additional shipments are now being cleared the same day and arrive at their destinations faster. Businesses benefit from a reduction in paperwork, and can move packages faster at a reduced cost. One member of the courier industry indicates it is saving $8 million annually in brokerage costs.
Invest in Improving Shared Border Infrastructure and Technology
Canada and the United States have:
- Released the first-ever annual, five-year joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP) covering coordinated upgrades such as customs plaza replacement and redevelopment, additional primary and secondary lanes and booths, and expanded or new connecting roads and highway interchanges;
- Announced significant infrastructure upgrades at four of Canada’s five initial priority ports of entry: Lacolle, Quebec; Lansdowne, Ontario; Emerson, Manitoba; and North Portal, Saskatchewan. These investments will expand and modernize infrastructure at these four priority border crossings identified in the BIIP and help travellers and trade move faster from the United States into Canada;
- Made progress with respect to investments for two of four U.S. initial priority crossings. At the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, New York (adjacent to Fort Erie, Ontario), the bridge operator has announced an investment to widen the approach to the bridge and is working with U.S. CBP to renovate and expand its commercial warehouse facilities; the State of New York has announced a complementary investment for improved highway connection. At the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan (adjacent to Sarnia, Ontario), the State of Michigan has completed infrastructure projects to reconstruct, widen and improve highway access to the bridge and leveraged funding from the bridge operator for improvements to the customs plaza including additional booths;
- Canada announced plans to proceed with a pilot of remote traveller processing at Piney, Manitoba and Morses Line, Quebec border crossings expected to begin in 2015, to test the viability and potential benefits of expanding remote traveller processing at select small and remote ports of entry as a way to increase efficiency, while maintaining border integrity and access to needed border services. The United States is examining a complementary technology pilot and plans to proceed with Remote Inspection Technology at Pinnacle Road, Vermont beginning in 2015; and
- Continued discussions with stakeholders in both countries on the expansion of border wait time measurement technology to additional high-priority crossings in Canada and the United States in 2014.
Part III. Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement
Deepen Cooperative Investigation and Prosecution Efforts to Identify and Stop Serious Offenders and Violent Criminals
Canada and the United States have:
- Deployed integrated cross-border maritime law enforcement operations, known as Shiprider, in Ontario/Michigan and British Columbia/Washington State, and conducted surge operations along the St. Marys River between Ontario and Michigan, along the St. Lawrence Seaway between Ontario and New York State, and along the St. Croix River, offshore to the Grand Manan Channel between New Brunswick and Maine; and
- Initiated radio interoperability between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement personnel in British Columbia/Washington 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.
Protecting our Shared Waterways
Under the Integrated Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement initiative known as Shiprider, vessels jointly crewed by specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers provide seamless continuity of enforcement and security operations on both sides of the border, facilitating cross-border surveillance and interdiction under the command and laws of the country of operation. This program, which was regularized in 2012, enhances the security of our maritime borders and the safety of our shared waterways. Shiprider teams have conducted 3,000 hours of regular patrols and boardings on 500 Canadian and U.S. vessels.
Part IV. Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Security
Enhance the Resiliency of Our Shared Critical and Cyber Infrastructure
Canada and the United States have:
- Continued implementing the Canada-United States Action Plan for Critical Infrastructure, including completing the final joint report for the first binational Regional Resiliency Assessment Program (RRAP) project for the New Brunswick-Maine region, conducting joint risk analysis, developing collaborative cross-border analytical products, and sharing methodologies as well as best practices to enhance critical infrastructure security and resilience. The second cross-border Regional Resiliency Assessment Program project is scheduled to be conducted in the Yukon-Alaska region during 2014 and 2015;
- Continued implementing the 2012 joint Cybersecurity Action Plan, including jointly engaging with the private sector, enhancing real-time information sharing between cyber operation centres, producing joint operational products, jointly participating in exercises, and aligning cybersecurity awareness month activities; and
- Continued to work together to promote shared interests on cyber security and internet governance issues in venues such as the United Nations and the International Telecommunication Union. Canada and the United States worked with like-minded partners to obtain consensus on a U.N. report which, for the first time, affirms the applicability of international law to state activity in cyberspace.
Strengthening Cyber Security
In January 2013, the cyberoperations centres of Public Safety Canada and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a joint technical alert to raise awareness of important cyber security practices in regards to web-based content management systems, specifically Joomla! installations. This operational product is one of the first to be jointly branded and posted on the website of each organization.
Rapidly Respond to and Recover from Disasters and Emergencies on Either Side of the Border
Canada and the United States have:
- Strengthened plans and procedures for border traffic management during emergencies, including through joint planning and exercises, in order to ensure that first responders are not delayed at the border when emergency assistance is needed;
- Released a report via the Pacific Northwest Economic Region organization (PNWER) on the maritime commerce resilience tabletop exercise in the Pacific region, and identified joint Canada-U.S. Great Lakes and Atlantic committees to initiate similar resilience work in those regions;
- Advanced the strategic work plan to build a shared understanding of the health security environment, exchange information on preparedness and response to support the management of health emergencies, enhance cross-border health security partnerships through planning, training, and exercises, and address issues related to the exchange of personnel and interoperability to improve our health security;
- Enhanced cross-border cooperation on health events of mutual interest through a comprehensive mapping of cross-border activities between existing laboratory networks, at both the national and regional levels; the development of a pathogen safety and security cooperation plan; and the sharing of risk assessment practices and first responders protective measures;
- Continued joint work to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) events, including facilitating binational coordination of modelling and atmospheric surveillance; and
- Advanced objectives to harmonize cross-border emergency communications and interoperability capabilities, so that emergency responders on both sides of the border can easily communicate in the event of an emergency or disaster through a successful cross-border technology demonstration. A memorandum of understanding is being developed as part of the first phase of implementing interoperability between the systems of the two countries.
Improving Cross-Border Communications in Emergencies
Canadian and U.S. emergency responders took part in a technology demonstration of harmonized cross-border emergency communications. The technology demonstration successfully tested the interoperability of Canadian and U.S.systems in New Brunswick/Maine to share alerts and incident information to improve response coordination across the border during binational disasters.
The Beyond the Border Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is comprised of senior officials from both countries. The second annual meeting of the ESC took place in May 2013 in Washington, DC to oversee the work of the implementing departments and agencies. The ESC affirmed that Canada and the United States continue to make significant progress in achieving the Prime Minister and President’s shared vision of perimeter security and economic competitiveness and highlighted the key milestones that remain to be achieved. In addition to officials carrying out the Action Plan launched by the Prime Minister and the President, regular high-level political engagement will ensure that full implementation of the Vision is achieved expeditiously to the mutual benefit of people in both countries.
The Implementation Reports of 2012 and 2013 underscore much of the progress to date. For example, in 2012, mutual recognition of our respective air cargo security programs for passenger aircraft eliminated the need for cargo rescreening except with cause. In 2013, under the “cleared once, accepted twice” principle, one country has started to rely on the other’s inspections of offshore marine shipments entering the perimeter to reduce the need for re-inspection at the land border. Also, the U.S. truck cargo pre-inspection pilot tested new approaches for conducting screening at the land border. Each of these initiatives facilitates the secure and timely movement of goods between our two countries.
nexus trusted travellers save time and now receive an expanded set of benefits when traveling. At the land border, Canada opened additional nexus lanes to complement the existing U.S. investments and to expedite the border clearance process. At airports and in marine reporting locations, access to expedited passenger screening lines at designated locations in both countries and access to nexus and Global Entry trusted traveller kiosks facilitates the border clearance process and allows our border agencies to redirect their resources to unknown travellers.
There is still much work to do. Greater progress is required to complete preclearance negotiations for all modes, to facilitate the movement of business travellers between Canada and the United States, to upgrade infrastructure at priority border crossings, to implement a single window for border transactions, and to enhance benefits and harmonization of trusted trader programs between our two countries. Both countries will sustain the momentum.
Canada and the United States will continue broad public outreach as we implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan. In the coming year, we will enhance our engagement and dialogue with stakeholders on the implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan to seek feedback on existing initiatives and outcomes achieved, as well as input on priorities going forward. We will regularly update relevant Canadian and U.S. websites with information on our progress. We also continue to encourage increased participation in trusted traveller and trusted trader programs. With the assistance of our respective diplomatic and consular offices, we anticipate continued advocacy on the importance of the success of the Beyond the Border initiative to the security and economic prosperity of both countries. We look forward to reporting on progress in these and other areas in the 2014 Beyond the Border Implementation Report.