Government of Canada takes action to ensure more efficient travel between Canada and U.S.
June 17, 2016 – Ottawa – Public Safety Canada
The Government of Canada remains committed to making it faster and easier to travel from Canada into the United States.
Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced the introduction of legislation in the House of Commons to expand the highly popular and effective preclearance agreement with the United States.
The preclearance initiative builds on the significant progress made during the Prime Minister’s official visit to Washington. There, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama agreed in principle to expand preclearance to a number of new Canadian locations, including Quebec’s Jean Lesage International Airport, Toronto’s Billy Bishop City Airport, Montreal Central Station and the Rocky Mountaineer.
The expansion – which now includes passage by land, water and train – will allow more Canadians to enjoy the benefits of preclearance, which include direct access to more U.S. destinations, and greater economic growth for local economies that will benefit from increased tourism.
“Today, the Government of Canada demonstrated its commitment to strengthening its relationship with the United States and to ensuring a more efficient and secure border, by introducing the legislation required to implement the Canada–U.S. Preclearance Agreement. When it takes effect, the Agreement will provide the legal framework that will enable the expansion of preclearance operations in all modes of transportation – land, rail, marine and air – including the locations announced by Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama in March 2016.”
– Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“This legislation is an important step towards ensuring the efficient flow of people and goods between our two countries in all transportation modes. We are pleased to build on our long history of successful preclearance operations by introducing a bill that, when passed, will enable us to ratify the new agreement on preclearance.”
– Marc Garneau, Minister of Transportation
“Preclearance is a major achievement for both governments, enhancing travel and trade to facilitate robust economies, and increasing efficiency and predictability in cross-border tourism and transportation. I look forward to continuing to work together as international partners to ensure our collective security.”
– Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
- Preclearance operations currently take place at eight Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.
- Immigration pre-inspection is also conducted at multiple locations in British Columbia in the rail and marine modes.
Preclearance: Making it faster and easier to travel between Canada and the U.S.
The legislation introduced in Parliament on June 17, 2016 will enable the expansion of preclearance in both Canada and the U.S., in all modes of transportation – land, rail, marine and air.
Benefits for Canadians
At eight international airports across the country, preclearance operations make it faster and easier for nearly 12 million travellers to fly from Canada into the U.S. each year. In fact, if U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers weren’t preclearing travellers at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, travellers wouldn’t be able to take advantage of almost half of the 50 direct flights currently offered into U.S. airports. Instead, they’d first have to fly into a U.S. airport with customs and immigration facilities before connecting to their final U.S. destination.
When the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America enters into force, it will be possible to extend the advantages of preclearance to include all modes of transportation – land, rail, marine and air – at mutually agreed-upon locations in either Canada or the U.S.
Given the travel and economic benefits of existing preclearance sites, there is strong market demand to expand preclearance to new locations. Several Canadian stakeholders have already proposed establishing new preclearance sites in Canada which would create additional economic benefits for the country.
Increased security and border integrity
While preclearance strengthens economic competitiveness by expediting the flow of legitimate travel and trade, it also helps ensure perimeter security and border integrity. Because travellers and goods are pre-cleared before they leave the country, preclearance officers are able to refuse inadmissible travellers and goods entry into the destination country, rather than turning them back after they arrive. For instance, if Canadian preclearance operations were launched in the U.S., CBSA officers stationed in the U.S. would be able to stop prohibited travellers and goods before they cross the border and enter into Canadian territory.
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