According to a range of studies, inefficiencies at the Canada-U.S. border impose a direct cost on the Canadian economy of 1 per cent of GDP, which is $16 billion a year or roughly $500 for each man, woman and child in Canada. Let’s look at some specific, practical examples of how the Action Plan will benefit groups.
First: What will the Action Plan do for Canadian businesses that ship products to the U.S.?
Take rail companies as an example. Right now, cargo on trains travelling to the U.S. is screened at the sea port of entry into Canada and again at the land border. This increases costs, delays and scheduling uncertainty for rail companies and their U.S. customers.
When the Action Plan is fully implemented, the principle of “screened once, accepted twice” will apply. This approach will not only strengthen the management of security and other risks from offshore but will streamline Canada-U.S. border crossings as well. The cargo on trains will be screened once at the time it arrives at port, for example in Prince Rupert. But, it will be accepted twice by both Canada and the U.S. and will pass the border, if it is moving to the U.S., much more easily than it does today.
Second: How about Canadian travellers? How will the Action Plan help?
Let’s take Marie as an example. She travels on a holiday to the U.S. and uses pre-clearance facilities at the Canadian airport. This is fine if Marie is travelling directly to her destination. But, if she changes planes in the U.S. to fly to a second destination, her baggage, which has been already cleared at the pre-clearance point in Canada, is re-inspected again. This can lead to missed flights, lost baggage and frustration all around.
Under the Action Plan, Marie’s bags would be screened once in Canada, using state of the art equipment, and would follow her to her destination in the U.S. This will save her and the airline time and money. In fact, eliminating the re-screening of baggage will save Canadian and U.S. air carriers more the $50 million a year.
And now, a third example: A company that imports refrigerators from the U.S. How will the Action Plan help that company?
Refrigerators are, of course, made of many different components. As a result, when Refrigerator Import Company wants to import a fridge, it has to file paperwork manually with up to nine different government departments. For example, Natural Resources Canada requires regulatory labelling, as outlined in the Energy Efficiency Act. Under the Action Plan that company would be able to submit all the required paperwork to one Website–that is, it would be filed and assessed electronically.
These are just three practical examples of how the Action Plan will benefit Canadians.