The United States and Canada have the densest trade and travel bilateral relationship in the world. Our two countries have a long history of innovation, including the establishment of U.S. Preclearance in Toronto in 1952. At its height, two-way trade was $800 billion per year and more than 300,000 people crossed the border daily. The Future Borders Coalition believes that COVID-19 recovery will get us back to this level of activity in the future, with greater flow of goods and people based on new trade agreements.
Vital to the relationship is the private-public-policy partnerships that are built around a vision of the future border. Policy, processes, and technological innovation are the hallmarks driving the need for a coalition, valued at the most senior levels of the Governments of Canada and the United States.
There is a long history of innovation in the evolution of borders. The Perimeter Clearance strategy was developed between 1999 and 2002 and provided a roadmap for both countries to “clear once, accept twice” across the border. The initial Perimeter Clearance White Paper was a key input into the 2001 Smart Border Action Plan and guided the evolution of post 9/11 security and facilitation priorities. It culminated with the 2011 Beyond the Border Action Plan, where major successes included growth of trusted traveler and trader programs, automation and RFID implementation, partial elimination of security re-screening and several pilot projects to test in-transit goods movement.
Recently, the focus of activity is on the Canada–U.S. preclearance relationship. As the 2015 Agreement moves to full implementation across all major transportation modes, we must now focus on external borders and allow legitimate low-risk goods and people to flow efficiently and securely. As the trading relationship deepens between Canada and the U.S., it is even more important now to expand border cooperation further to benefit travel, trade, tourism, and the national security interests of both countries.
OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The Beyond Preclearance Coalition was formed in 2018 as a group of bi-national organizations with a vested interest in advancing the efficiency and security of the Canada–U.S. border. Together, they commissioned a White Paper to explore the opportunities going forward.
In 2020, the coalition was renamed “Future Borders Coalition” with a multi-year mandate to continue the work of accelerating a cohesive border vision based on improvements in technology, processes, facilities and innovation to drive ahead economic recovery, prosperity, safety and security.