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.
In developing the Action Plan, the Government of Canada engaged directly with Canadians to ensure it heard from as many stakeholders as possible, including other levels of government, business, labour, civil society, border communities, Aboriginal groups, think tanks, academics and individual citizens.
Three main channels were used: provincial and territorial engagement; face-to-face meetings; and online consultation.
Provincial and territorial governments
Shortly after the release of the Declaration of a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness in February 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wrote to all provincial and territorial premiers asking them to identify representatives to provide input on border issues as part of the consultation process. Subsequently, the Government of Canada met multiple times with provincial and territorial representatives to listen to and understand their jurisdictions’ perspectives on the border. Written submissions were also received from a number of these governments, with advice and suggestions on border measures important to their populations.
Bilateral meetings with key stakeholders
The government also reached out to key stakeholders to solicit their views through face-to-face meetings across the country. It held meetings with large and small businesses, from a variety of sectors including, but not limited to, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and tourism. The government also met with the associations representing these businesses and with major national labour unions. Finally, to ensure a thorough and balanced perspective, the government reached out to individual border communities, Aboriginal organizations, civil society groups, think tanks and academics with an interest or expertise in border issues. Through these meetings, the government received direct input from 110 stakeholders, including 54 written submissions.
To ensure that any interested individual or group could provide input on the Declaration, the Government of Canada launched the Border Action Plan website. The website was designed to inform Canadians about the Declaration and invite them to share their thoughts on the key areas of collaboration. Media events were held to launch the website and publicize it to Canadians. When the 41st federal general election caused online consultations to be suspended, the government extended the deadline to allow Canadians more time to comment. Overall, the website had more than 16,000 unique visitors and received more than 1,000 submissions.
Reporting back to Canadians
On August 29, 2011, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird released What Canadians Told Us: A Report on Consultations on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Between Canada and the United States, a summary of the input the Government received from the consultation process described above.
As the Action Plan is implemented, the Government will continue to consult relevant stakeholders and Canadians on these issues.