ARCHIVE - 2013 Beyond the Border Implementation Report

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

ARCHIVE - 2013 Beyond the Border Implementation Report PDF Version (385 Kb)

December 19, 2013

Executive Summary

Canada and the United States are deeply interconnected by history, geography, and our people. We have the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world, with two-way trade in goods and services of over $700 billion in 2012, supporting millions of jobs in each country. Canada and the United States also share the longest common border in the world, touching three oceans. Our shared border is more than a simple geographical boundary; it is also the site of more than 100 ports of entry, doors from one country to the other, where the efficient movement of people and goods is crucial to the daily lives of our citizens, the health of our communities and to the competitiveness of our economies.

Canada and the United States have a long tradition of working together to promote security and facilitate trade and travel across our borders, ensuring that they remain open to legitimate trade and travel and closed to terrorists, criminals, and illegal or unauthorized goods. This strong partnership continues. The Beyond the Border Declaration: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and its accompanying Action Plan, announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in 2011, deepen and institutionalize this cooperation at and away from the shared border.

Beyond the Border initiatives have begun to provide benefits to residents, travellers, and industry in both Canada and the United States in the realms of security, trade and travel facilitation, and emergency management. The benefits of other initiatives are expected to show results as implementation of the Action Plan continues, as both countries learn from pilots designed to test innovative approaches to cooperation and border clearance, and as our countries continue to enhance our long-term relationship.

Among key accomplishments over the last year, Canada and the United States:

Other initiatives are still in progress and are on track with the Beyond the Border Action Plan timelines, such as Canada's development of an Electronic Travel Authorization and the complementary Interactive Advance Passenger Information System, both of which are scheduled to be implemented by December 2015. Several initiatives are making progress but have fallen behind the originaltarget dates due to legal or operational issues brought to light through our collaborative implementation efforts. These include the harmonization of trusted trader programs, the deployment of single windows in each of our countries through which importers can submit all government-required information, the full implementation of the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy, and the completion of a preclearance agreement for the land, rail and marine modes as well as an update to the existing preclearance agreement for the air mode. The lessons learned through these efforts, and the persistence and innovation demonstrated in addressing these challenges, provide benefits not only for these particular initiatives but also for the overall Beyond the Border effort and bilateral collaboration more generally. We know, and are often reminded by stakeholders, that delivering on these Beyond the Border Action Plan initiatives is vital to strengthening economic competitiveness and secure flows of goods and people. We committed to achieving the long-term objectives of the Beyond the Border vision which will further strengthen the Canada – United States partnership.

We look forward to reporting on progress on these and other initiatives in the 2014 Beyond the Border Implementation Report.  Furthermore, we continue to strive for transparency and accountability, providing ongoing information to the public through press releases and websites and outreach events, and being informed by extensive and constructive engagement with stakeholders in Canada and the United States and with partner agencies across both governments. Over the coming year, we will work closely with stakeholders by establishing a process that will allow for more regular and extensive consultations.


On February 4, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama announced the Beyond the Border Declaration and launched the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council.  Both initiatives strengthen the partnership between Canada and the United States aimed at enhancing both countries' security, prosperity and economic competitiveness while respecting each country's sovereignty.  The Beyond the Border Declaration articulates a perimeter approach to security in which Canada and the United States work together to address threats at the earliest point possible – within, at, and away from our borders – while facilitating the lawful movement of people and goods into our countries and across the 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. It also calls for Canada and the United States to generate a joint Beyond the Border Implementation Report annually for a three-year period, with the expectation of continuation. This is the second such annual report, and covers Beyond the Border activities from December 2012 to November 2013. The report organizes the implementation efforts into the key areas of cooperation outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration.

  1. Addressing Threats Early
  2. Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth, and Jobs
  3. Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement
  4. Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Security


Part I. Addressing Threats Early

Develop a Common Approach to Assessing Threats and Identifying Those Who Pose a Risk, Under the Principle that a Threat to Either Country Represents a Threat to Both

Canada and the United States have:

Pushing Out the Border: Stopping Threats Before They Arrive Either in Canada or the United States

Canada and the United States have:

Advancing Perimeter Security

Through closer collaboration between Canadian and U.S. border authorities, the ICSS pilots are resulting in faster and more predictable cross-border trade and greater perimeter security.  For example, designated pilot trains from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, loaded with clean inbound marine cargo and destined to the United States, cross the Canada-U.S. border at International Falls, Minnesota in an average of 19 minutes, rather than two hours.   

Establish a Common Approach to Perimeter Screening to Promote Security and Border Efficiency

Canada and the United States have:

Preventing Immigration Fraud

Canada and the United States have been sharing fingerprints on asylum seekers in either country since March 2010. The volume has increased significantly under the Beyond the Border Action Plan. Over the past 12 months, of the fingerprints shared by the United States with Canada, approximately 2% were matched against information held by the latter. The match rate for fingerprints shared by Canada with the United States was approximately 50%, due in part to larger U.S. biometrics holdings.  This sharing provides better information to decision-makers and helps prevent fraud. In one case, a fingerprint belonging to an asylum claimant in Canada identified the claimant as a person with a different identity in the United States who also had a lengthy criminal history.  

Part II. Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth, and Jobs

Enhance the Benefits of Programs that Help Trusted Businesses and Travellers Move Efficiently Across the Border

Tier I Trusted Trader programs provide businesses that meet rigorous security requirements with facilitated processing at the border. With respect to these programs:

For those traders that are both low risk and have invested in their business systems and processes, Tier II Trusted Trader programs offer facilitated border clearance as well as self-assessment approaches to trade compliance. To explore further alignment and potential additional benefits, Canada and the United States have:

With respect to Trusted Traveller programs, Canada and the United States have:

More benefits for more travellers

The nexus program provides its over 917,000 members expedited processing by Canadian and U.S. officials at dedicated processing lanes at the border, at nexus kiosks at preclearance airports in Canada, and at marine reporting locations.  nexus members also have access to Global Entry kiosks in U.S. airports, and are eligible to use trusted traveller security screening lines in Canadian airports as well as TSA Pre✓™ security screening lines in U.S. airports.        

Develop Additional Initiatives for Expediting Legitimate Travellers and Cargo

Canada and the United States have:

Acting on Stakeholder Engagement

Consultations with stakeholders continue to guide and shape the implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan.  For example, following stakeholder consultations on business travellers in Washington, D.C. and Toronto, Ontario in 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada decided to hold annual consultations to continue the dialogue on facilitation of cross-border business travel.

Preclearance and Pre-Inspection

Preclearance occurs when the entire clearance process of people or goods takes place in one country, for people or goods destined to another country, by the government of the receiving country.  Under this process, there is generally no further inspection upon arrival into the other country. This process takes place today for air travellers to the United States from Canada.

Pre-inspection, within the context of the Beyond the Border pilots, is where the cargo inspection process begins in one country with the remainder of the inspection process completed upon arrival in the other country.   An immigration pre-inspection process already exists at Victoria for ferries and for rail passengers in Vancouver en route to the United States.  In this context, passengers are cleared for immigration processes and all customs and agriculture processes are completed in the United States.

Benefits for Consumers and Industry

The increase and harmonization of the Low-Value Shipment (LVS) threshold for expedited customs clearance has meant tangible benefits for customers and industry.  Thousands of additional shipments are now being cleared the same day and arrive at their destinations faster. Businesses benefit from a reduction in paperwork, and can move packages faster at a reduced cost. One member of the courier industry indicates it is saving $8 million annually in brokerage costs.

Invest in Improving Shared Border Infrastructure and Technology

Canada and the United States have:

Part III. Integrated Cross-Border Law Enforcement

Deepen Cooperative Investigation and Prosecution Efforts to Identify and Stop Serious Offenders and Violent Criminals

Canada and the United States have:

Protecting our Shared Waterways

Under the Integrated Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement initiative known as Shiprider, vessels jointly crewed by specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers provide seamless continuity of enforcement and security operations on both sides of the border, facilitating cross-border surveillance and interdiction under the command and laws of the country of operation.  This program, which was regularized in 2012, enhances the security of our maritime borders and the safety of our shared waterways. Shiprider teams have conducted 3,000 hours of regular patrols and boardings on 500 Canadian and U.S. vessels.

Part IV.  Critical Infrastructure and Cyber Security

Enhance the Resiliency of Our Shared Critical and Cyber Infrastructure

Canada and the United States have:

Strengthening Cyber Security

In January 2013, the cyberoperations centres of Public Safety Canada and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a joint technical alert to raise awareness of important cyber security practices in regards to web-based content management systems, specifically Joomla! installations. This operational product is one of the first to be jointly branded and posted on the website of each organization.

Rapidly Respond to and Recover from Disasters and Emergencies on Either Side of the Border

Canada and the United States have:

Improving Cross-Border Communications in Emergencies

Canadian and U.S. emergency responders took part in a technology demonstration of harmonized cross-border emergency communications. The technology demonstration successfully tested the interoperability of Canadian and in New Brunswick/Maine to share alerts and incident information to improve response coordination across the border during binational disasters.

Moving Forward

The Beyond the Border Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is comprised of senior officials from both countries. The second annual meeting of the ESC took place in May 2013 in Washington, DC to oversee the work of the implementing departments and agencies. The ESC affirmed that Canada and the United States continue to make significant progress in achieving the Prime Minister and President's shared vision of perimeter security and economic competitiveness and highlighted the key milestones that remain to be achieved. In addition to officials carrying out the Action Plan launched by the Prime Minister and the President, regular high-level political engagement will ensure that full implementation of the Vision is achieved expeditiously to the mutual benefit of people in both countries.

The Implementation Reports of 2012 and 2013 underscore much of the progress to date. For example, in 2012, mutual recognition of our respective air cargo security programs for passenger aircraft eliminated the need for cargo rescreening except with cause. In 2013, under the "cleared once, accepted twice" principle, one country has started to rely on the other's inspections of offshore marine shipments entering the perimeter to reduce the need for re-inspection at the land border. Also, the U.S. truck cargo pre-inspection pilot tested new approaches for conducting screening at the land border. Each of these initiatives facilitates the secure and timely movement of goods between our two countries.

nexus trusted travellers save time and now receive an expanded set of benefits when traveling. At the land border, Canada opened additional nexus lanes to complement the existing U.S. investments and to expedite the border clearance process. At airports and in marine reporting locations, access to expedited passenger screening lines at designated locations in both countries and access to nexus and Global Entry trusted traveller kiosks facilitates the border clearance process and allows our border agencies to redirect their resources to unknown travellers.

There is still much work to do. Greater progress is required to complete preclearance negotiations for all modes, to facilitate the movement of business travellers between Canada and the United States, to upgrade infrastructure at priority border crossings, to implement a single window for border transactions, and to enhance benefits and harmonization of trusted trader programs between our two countries. Both countries will sustain the momentum.

Canada and the United States will continue broad public outreach as we implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan. In the coming year, we will enhance our engagement and dialogue with stakeholders on the implementation of the Beyond the Border Action Plan to seek feedback on existing initiatives and outcomes achieved, as well as input on priorities going forward. We will regularly update relevant Canadian and U.S. websites with information on our progress. We also continue to encourage increased participation in trusted traveller and trusted trader programs. With the assistance of our respective diplomatic and consular offices, we anticipate continued advocacy on the importance of the success of the Beyond the Border initiative to the security and economic prosperity of both countries. We look forward to reporting on progress in these and other areas in the 2014 Beyond the Border Implementation Report.

Date modified: