(No. 43 - February 16, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, today announced an independent review of the Preclearance Act, which governs United States customs and immigration preclearance at some Canadian airports.
"Preclearance is one way that we work with the United States to keep people moving smoothly between our two countries," said Minister Cannon. "It is a great convenience for travellers.
"The independent review is required under the Preclearance Act and is a welcome opportunity to assess how well the Act is achieving its objectives. Interested parties such as airports and airlines, as well as the travelling public, will have an opportunity to contribute to the review."
"Preclearance enhances the benefits of the 2007 Open Skies agreement with the United States by facilitating air travel between our two countries," said Minister Baird. "This independent review will help to ensure that preclearance is operating effectively and efficiently."
Preclearance enables U.S. officials to process travellers at Canadian airports for entry into the United States instead of on arrival in the country.
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A backgrounder follows, including information on how to contribute to the review.
For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Office of the Minister of Transport
Transport Canada Media Relations
The Preclearance Act authorizes the United States to preclear travellers and goods in Canada for entry into the United States for the purposes of customs, immigration, public health, food inspection, and plant and animal health.
U.S. preclearance in Canada began in Toronto under ad hoc arrangements in 1952. These were formalized through a 1974 Canada-United States agreement and updated by the current Preclearance Agreement, which came into force in 2003. The current agreement is implemented by the Preclearance Act. In addition to Toronto, preclearance has been extended to airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. The United States preclears almost 12 million passengers per year at these airports.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs has released a public information document to encourage contributions to the current review of the Act, its administration and operation.
The information document may be found online.
Printed copies may be ordered by calling 613-944-6918.
Interested parties and the travelling public may contribute to the review by submitting their input by March 26, 2009, to InterVISTAS, the consulting firm that the Government of Canada has engaged to conduct the independent review:
Preclearance Act Review
c/o InterVISTAS Consulting
1200 West 73rd Avenue, Suite 550
Vancouver BC V6P 6G5
By fax: 604-717-1818
Online: Preclearance Act Review.