Business Council of Canada expresses concern about closure of Nexus program

David Fraser, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Business Council of Canada is concerned about the continued closure of the Nexus low-risk traveler program, which allows expedited processing for pre-screened travelers entering the United States and Canada.

In a letter to David Cohen, the US ambassador to Canada, copied to The Canadian Press, CEO Goldy Hyder says it is “deeply disturbing” that the US government has not reopened 13 enrollment centers for the Nexus program.

The two countries are at odds over a long-standing requirement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that its officers at Nexus centers in Canada enjoy the same legal protections they currently enjoy at other points of entry, such as airports and between the Canada and U.S. border.

Public Safety Secretary Marco Mendicino cited the principles of Canadian sovereignty when explaining why US Customs officials at Nexus centers cannot enjoy the same legal protections as at airports and borders.

In his letter to Ambassador Cohen, Mr Hyder says he fears the dispute could hurt companies whose employees do not yet have Nexus cards, and he urges Mr Cohen to recommend the reopening of enrollment centers.

His comments come after Canada’s envoy to the United States said the program was “held hostage” by unilateral US efforts to renegotiate the advance agreement between the United States and its northern neighbor.

“There is an attempt to unilaterally renegotiate the terms of a 20-year-old program, and the program is being held hostage by this effort,” Kirsten Hillman said at a week-long symposium on the Canada-US border, most recently from Future Borders Coalition.

Tyrone Hodgson

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