By Amanda Yiu
Canada and the US are taking steps to streamline border crossings for people, goods and services across their shared border via two key initiatives.
One of the most significant changes is the extension of the NEXUS card program, which expedites security checkpoints for pre-screened members, to passengers travelling to the US by air at Canada’s eight largest airports—Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver—beginning in February 2012.
The NEXUS program was launched for domestic and non-US international travel at the aforementioned eight Canadian airports in 2010 and has been in place for several years at major land border crossings between the US and Canada. NEXUS members will be able to use self-service kiosks equipped iris-recognition biometric technology to bypass long security line-ups.
Travellers will also benefit from the elimination of the current practice of double baggage screening (once in each country, on departure and again on arrival). Under the new action plan, Canadians heading to the US will have their baggage screened before departure at a US pre-clearance facility at the Canadian airport. This should speed up baggage wait times and reduce the risk of missing baggage. The new baggage screening practice will be implemented over the next three and a half years.
To find out more about the Government of Canada’s Border Action Plan, visit www.BorderActionPlan.gc.ca.