ARCHIVE - 2012 Beyond the Border Implementation Report

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Table of Contents

December 14, 2012

Part 1 - Executive Summary

Canada and the United States are staunch allies, vital economic partners, and steadfast friends.  We share common values, links among our citizens, and deeply rooted ties.  We enjoy the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world; some $1.6 billion worth of goods and over 300,000 people cross our shared border each day for business, pleasure, or to maintain family ties.  The secure and efficient flows of legitimate goods and people are vital to our economic competitiveness and mutual prosperity. 

To preserve and extend the benefits our close relationship has helped bring to Canadians and Americans alike, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama announced the Beyond the Border Declaration and the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council on February 4, 2011.  Both initiatives seek to deepen our partnership and enhance our security, prosperity and economic competitiveness while respecting each other's sovereignty. The Beyond the Border Declaration articulates a perimeter approach to security in which both countries work together to address threats at the earliest point possible – within, at, and away from our borders – while facilitating the lawful movement of people, goods, and services into our countries and across our 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.  Italso calls for Canada and the United States to generate a joint Beyond the Border implementation reportannually for a three year period, with the expectation of continuation.  The enclosed report covers Beyond the Border activities for 2012. 

Our governments made significant progress over the past year in realizing these initiatives.  Our progress has been guided by extensive and constructive engagement with stakeholders in Canada and the United States.  Through in-person meetings and on-line submissions, we have heard from all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and individuals about the security, trade, and travel issues that matter most to them.  We are informed by the input received as we implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan and intend to continue to work with stakeholders as we move forward.  We strive for transparency and accountability, providing information to the public through websites and press releases. 

This report organizes the implementation efforts into the four key areas of cooperation outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration.

In order to advance the Beyond the Border Action Plan in 2012, Canada and the United States:

While significant progress has been made over the past year, our work is not yet done.  Several initiatives including the harmonization of trusted trader programs, the full implementation of an entry/exit program at the land border, the negotiation of a preclearance agreement for the land, rail, and marine modes and an update to the existing preclearance agreement for the air mode are underway.  We look forward to reporting on progress on these and other initiatives in subsequent Beyond the Border implementation reports. 

Part 2 - Progress to Date

Addressing Threats Early

Addressing threats at the earliest possible point is essential to strengthening our security and facilitating the lawful flow of goods and people across our shared border.  In order to jointly address threats to our citizens and our way of life, and recognizing that a threat to either country represents a threat to both, we need a common understanding of the threats. Therefore, we have:

We also are developing a perimeter approach to the shared threats faced by Canada and the United States, which aims to stop threats well before they arrive in either Canada or the United States.  Under the principle of "cleared once, accepted twice," we have developed a harmonized approach to screening inbound international cargo, as well as checked bags belonging to passengers on approved connecting flights. This approach is intended to increase security and to facilitate the movement of secure cargo and baggage across our shared border.  To date, we have:

We have also advanced a harmonized approach to screening travellers at the earliest point possible. Canada and the United States already have similar visa and document requirements, advance passenger information requirements, and national targeting centres that support the decision-making of border officials.  Building on these similarities, our countries are collaborating to enhance screening methodologies and programs by developing systems to provide relevant information for immigration and border determinations including through: the implementation of systematic biographic and biometric information sharing on third-country nationals; sharing information on those who have been removed from either country for criminal reasons; and sharing entry data at the shared land border such that entry to one country constitutes the exit data from the other.  Improved information sharing assists officials on both sides to make better informed decisions, to prevent unlawful entries into either country, and to facilitate legitimate travel.  To date, we have:

Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth, and Jobs

The efficient flow of goods and services between Canada and the United States creates immense economic benefits for both countries.  Canada and the United States already have programs to facilitate the travel of known and frequent travellers and the exports and imports of known and frequent traders.  The initiatives below intend to expand those programs and enhance their benefits to travellers and businesses. Such initiatives not only facilitate travel and trade but also enable border officials to focus limited resources on unknown or higher-risk travellers and goods.  Along these lines, we have:

We are pursuing creative and effective solutions to promote the lawful cross-border mobility of people and goods, including removing barriers to cross border trade and travel to support jobs and economic growth. We are doing so by instituting or improving measures that facilitate movement, reduce administrative burden, and move functions away from the physical border where possible. These efforts aim to address challenges relating to outdated physical infrastructure, border congestion, unpredictable crossings, and duplicative efforts. To date, we have:

Efficient ports of entry are essential to the economic well-being of both Canada and the United States.  An integrated bilateral approach to investment in infrastructure and technology is critical to maximizing the potential benefits of our shared economic space and to ensuring that we have the capacity to support the current and future volumes of commercial and passenger traffic that are key to economic growth and job creation. Therefore, we have:

Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement

Canada and the United States have developed successful models for cooperative law enforcement, such as Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET), Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BEST), and Shiprider pilots.  Building on these proven models, we are pursuing more collaborative and integrated approaches to securing the border that enhance our ability to interdict, investigate, and prosecute criminals. To date, we have:

These initiatives, along with future efforts, are intended to improve our ability to prevent criminals from crossing the border to evade justice, making better use of limited law enforcement resources, and ultimately provide for a more robust law enforcement posture at our shared border to better protect citizens in both our countries.

Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Security

Canada and the United States are connected by critical infrastructure, from bridges and roads to energy infrastructure and cyberspace. The Beyond the Border Action Plan includes measures to enhance the resilience of our shared critical and cyber infrastructure and to enable our two countries to rapidly respond to and recover from disasters and emergencies on either side of the border. To protect vital physical and digital infrastructure and make them safer for all our citizens, we:

Due to the proximity of our two countries and the interconnectedness of our economies, a disaster or health threat in either country may affect the other and require multi-jurisdictional and cross-border coordination. The measures below are intended to help facilitate the movement of emergency responders and other medical personnel in either direction across our shared border, improve cross-border communications in times of crisis, and expedite the resumption of legitimate trade and travel following an emergency. To date, we have:

Part 3 - Moving Forward

All of the information sharing initiatives under the Beyond the Border Action Plan are to be informed and guided by the Joint Statement of Privacy Principles by Canada and the United States.  Completion of this joint statement was an early deliverable and a key milestone under the Beyond the Border Action Plan. The privacy principles cover the provision, receipt, and use of personal information exchanged by Canada and the United States pursuant to any Beyond the Border information sharing arrangements and initiatives. 

Timely and efficient information sharing is critical to the national security of both nations, and these principles reflect the joint commitment to protecting privacy and to responsibly sharing information that is accurate, relevant, and necessary.  Canada and the United States are committed to protecting privacy in the implementation of all Beyond the Border arrangements and initiatives undertaken by our two countries, and also ensuring that information sharing is consistent with the domestic and international law applicable in each country.

To advance the implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan to achieve the vision articulated by the Prime Minister and the President, Canada and the United States have established the Beyond the Border Executive Steering Committee (ESC) comprised of senior officials from both countries. The ESC, which first convened in Ottawa in June 2012, oversaw the development of this report and continues to help guide the work of the implementing departments and agencies.  In particular, the ESC is expected to lead efforts to achieve outstanding items that have not yet been implemented due to challenges that have arisen as our two countries have closely evaluated the operational and legal requirements of each project.   One example includes the deployment of the Next Generation of Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement pilot projects, intended to build upon the successes of IBETs, BESTs, and Shiprider and enhance cross-border law enforcement cooperation.  We remain committed to implementing all of the initiatives of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, and we steadfastly seek to resolve outstanding challenges in 2013.

We also intend to continue to work together to promote awareness of the Beyond the Border initiative and to engage with all levels of government and with our communities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sectors, as well as with our citizens, on innovative approaches to security and competitiveness. We plan to continue public outreach and consultation as well as update relevant websites with information on the Action Plan's implementation.

In the first year, we have made significant progress in achieving the vision of perimeter security and economic competitiveness through the activities outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan.  We have deepened our longstanding partnership to further advance our shared economic and security interests. Our work is not yet done.  Indeed, the Action Planincludes deliverables due in 2013, 2014, and 2015 that we are to report on in subsequent annual reports.  Key future initiatives include harmonizing our trusted trader programs, making significant infrastructure investments at our key land border crossings, fully implementing an entry/exit program at the land border, expanding preclearance operations to the land, rail, and marine domains, and an update to the existing preclearance agreement for the air mode.  We look forward to reporting on progress in these and other areas in subsequent Beyond the Border implementation reports. 

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