what's new at fbc?
Future Borders Coalition has had a busy few months. Our hybrid Passenger Journey event in Ottawa last month was a tremendously productive opportunity to develop concrete recommendations to improve the Canada-U.S. Passenger Journey and border crossing experience. With more than 150 government and industry participants from both countries, this was the first bilateral, multi-modal, collaboration of industry and government experts to be held in many years. While the event was hosted under Chatham House rules, be on the lookout for an issue summary later this month. In March, FBC’s Executive Director, Laura Dawson travelled to DC to testify before a Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing on the Northern Border. Make sure to take a look at her testimony below, highlighting the importance of the Northern Border for U.S. prosperity and jobs. While there was a diverse range of opinions represented, all expert witnesses agreed on the need to support staffing and infrastructure for border personnel. While in DC, Dawson joined GTAA President and CEO Deborah Ale Flint for an aviation dialogue at the Embassy of Canada and a presentation on Capitol Hill to make the case for modernization increased staffing at CBP air pre-clearance sites. The meeting with Congressional staff was bolstered by input from former CBP senior leaders Alan Bersin and John Wagner. Laura was also a frequent media analyst during President Biden’s official trip Ottawa in March. One of the highlights was “color commentary” with her former boss, Ambassador David Jacobson during the President’s historic address to Parliament. Our new multi-modal working groups are in full swing with participation from industry and government officials from both Canada and the U.S. These working groups help us pinpoint our advocacy efforts, and the findings and recommendations will be presented at our October Transportation Summit. If you’re interested in participating, please e-mail Henna Rennie at email@example.com. The next Supply Chains and Corridors working group meeting is scheduled for June 16 in collaboration with Importers-Exporters (IE) Canada. FBC’s Annual General Meeting and the hybrid roundtable series continues in Vancouver on June 22. This intermodal roundtable will focus on cruise to air transfers, and preparations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Make sure to register today! We are pleased to see several new and returning members joining the FBC Community. A huge welcome to Ports Toronto, JTI-Macdonald Corp, Port of Vancouver and Accenture. Thank you also to current members who are renewing their memberships! Please take a moment to check that your membership is up to date. And, if you’re still thinking about it, please jump off the fence and make a commitment to our important work.
Annual General Meeting and Air-Cruise Intermodal Roundtable:
FBC members are invited to our Annual General Meeting and Air-Cruise Intermodal Roundtable event in Vancouver on June 22. The roundtable picks up from where we left off in Ottawa in April, with a specific emphasis on Cruise to Air transfers and planning for FIFA World Cup 2026. The event is hybrid, so if you can’t make it in-person, please register to attend virtually.
Testimony of Dr. Laura Dawson
FBC’s Executive Director, Laura Dawson, testified on the Hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Accountability focusing on the Northern Border on March 28.
“On travel, Canada is the United States’ largest source of tourists and tourism revenue. Valued at around $23 billion per year during the pre-COVID period, tourist services used to be the United States’ sixth largest export to Canada. I use the past tense, because while air travel numbers have recovered post pandemic, passenger vehicle crossings and day trips have not. This is especially difficult for border communities in remote areas such as Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan which are closer to Canadian population centers than American ones. Adding new impediments to cross the border hurts the prosperity of Americans and Canadians. This does not mean abrogating our shared commitment to border security but it does mean having a realistic view of what our challenge areas are and how to address them.
I am firmly convinced that the U.S.-Canada Border is strong, secure, and a conduit forprosperity and employment in both of our nations. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. I urge all members of Congress to support investment in U.S.-Canadaborder infrastructure, bilateral economic development programs, and to provide the dedicated men and women who are our border officials with the financial resources, tools, and technology they need to build and sustain the smart and secure border of the 21st century.
An investment in northern border staffing and infrastructure helps both security and commerce at the same time. Sufficient staff means that trusted traders can sail through designated corridors without excessive wait times. Infrastructure modernization means that bridges, tunnels, road and rail crossings that can meet volume demands and are resilient in the face of climate challenges and cyber attacks. State-of the art technologies such as AI sensors for vehicles and facial biometric tools mean that officials don’t have to make on-the-spot judgements about admissibility with insufficient data. With the right technology and the staffing to use it, officers can confirm admissibility using data collected and verified before the vehicle reaches the border crossing.
Airports and even cruise ships play a role in securing the U.S. border. U.S.-Canada preclearance and trusted traveler programs filter out bad actors before they reach U.S. soil. They are also good for the economy, inspiring even more Canadian tourists to spend money and time in the U.S. The secure, and prosperous U.S.-Canada border is unique in the world and cannot be taken for granted. It is both a shared benefit and a shared responsibility for our two nations.”
To read Dawson’s full written testimony:
To watch the hearing:
“Dawson.. a voice of reason on all Canada-U.S. matters, tried to inject some common sense” into the subcommittee hearing.
Media and Announcements
Solomon Wong represented FBC at the BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference 2023, leading a session on border digitization. Dawson joined leading political economic & economic analysts at a Canada Chamber of Commerce Executive Briefing on the Canada-US Roadmap. FBC will be leading a session on the aviation passenger journey at the Global Business Travel Association 2023 Convention in Toronto on May 16, with Ted Sobel from DHS and Sharon Spicer from CBSA. FBC, the Center for US-Mexico Studies at the University of California (San Diego), and the George W. Bush Presidential Center are co-convening a high-level experts group to develop recommendations for North American industrial policy and trade.. Congratulations CP on completing the merger with Kansas City Southern, creating the first single-line railway to connect Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Interesting take on how US and Canadian officials moved mountains to complete an important border deal secretly and ahead of schedule. Importers, exporters, and manufacturers using plastics need to be aware of important regulatory actions proposed by the Government of Canada. Deadline for input is May 18. Upcoming — Mark your calendars for the Transportation Border Summit 2023 in Washington DC, mid-October. Final date TBD.
New Member Spotlight
We are pleased to welcome four new and returning members to the FBC Community!
Help us build a better border
FBC is committed to building a better border for travel and trade. You can help through expert advice, membership, and financial support. Please take a moment to check that your membership is up to date. And, if you’re still thinking about it, please jump off the fence and make a commitment to our important work. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.