November 7, 2022
Vancouver, B.C. – The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has joined nearly 60 business associations from across Canada, calling on the federal government to work with their U.S. counterparts to restore service to NEXUS and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) applicants as quickly as possible.
The letter’s full text and complete list of signatories is included below:
Hon. Marco Mendicino, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Public Safety
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
Hon. Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Re: Restoring service to NEXUS and FAST applicants
Dear Minister Mendicino and Secretary Mayorkas:
Over twenty years ago, the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States came together at the Ambassador Bridge to announce a safe and secure way for our citizens to cross the border more securely and efficiently.
NEXUS has since grown to service nearly 2 million low-risk travellers who are pre-cleared by both governments to travel between our two countries.
Both the Canadian and American economies have benefited enormously from the expedited and enhanced security protocols. Trusted Traveller programs like NEXUS and the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program have allowed our citizens and goods to pass across our shared border more efficiently at the same time as they enhanced security by allowing government border security resources to be deployed where they are most needed, focusing on unknown people and goods, as opposed to hindering low-risk travellers and carriers at our borders.
In 2019, tourists from the U.S. represented over two-thirds of all international tourist arrivals to Canada, reaching 25 million visitors in the year before the global pandemic. The same year saw 44 million trips by Canadians to the U.S. Having a jointly managed trusted traveller program is essential, both to foster economic growth and to deepen the ties between our countries’ citizens.
The Canadian business community is deeply concerned about the failure of the two governments to agree to the reopening of NEXUS and FAST enrollment facilities in Canada. Published reports indicate that the backlog for processing NEXUS applications currently exceeds 350,000 and is continuing to grow because of the delay in restoring the full service.
We understand that the two countries are considering the possibility of allowing officials to conduct video interviews with applicants instead of requiring that they take place in person. We support implementing such a process, which would be more efficient and less costly for both the applicants and the two governments. We urge the governments to implement such a system as rapidly as possible. If there are impediments to the immediate enactment of video interviews, such as a need to amend the legislation under which the processing of applications is conducted the governments should put temporary measures in place to prevent Canadian applicants from having to leave the country to have their applications processed.
We understand that officials in both Canada and the U.S. have expressed concerns about the positions taken by the other country. However, the urgent need of our countries’ citizens and
businesses to benefit from a system that is both secure and efficient should take priority over bureaucratic disputes. Just as our countries did in creating the Smart Border Accord two decades ago, we ask our leaders to demonstrate the creativity and commitment to urgently resolve the outstanding issues and to restore and strengthen a bilateral relationship that is the envy of the world.
Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
Airports Council International North America
American Express Global Business Travel
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies
Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Airports Council
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Canadian Automobile Dealers Association
Canadian Business Aviation Association
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Canadian Food Exporters Association
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association
Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Canadian Meat Council
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Canadian Rental Association
Canadian Trucking Alliance
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
Food Producers of Canada
Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada
Forest Products Association of Canada
Freight Management Association of Canada
Frontier Duty Free Association
Greater Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce
Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce
Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce
Greater Toronto Airports Authority
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Greater Vancouver Gateway Council
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada
Hotel Association of Canada
Innovative Medicines Canada
Institute of Canadian Agencies
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
Mississauga Board of Trade
National Airlines Council of Canada
Port Colborne-Wainfleet Chamber of Commerce
Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale
Retail Council of Canada
Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
The Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters
The Chamber of Commerce Niagara Falls, Canada
The Mining Association of Canada
The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
Toronto Region Board of Trade
Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC)
Vancouver Airport Authority
Welland/Pelham Chamber of Commerce
WestJet Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce