CTA urges ports to streamline security measures

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Recent publication of proposed amendments to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations has once again drawn attention to redundancy in the federal government’s approach security screening of transportation workers, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

The draft regulations lay the groundwork for the conduct of a transportation security clearance on certain port workers and others requiring access to high security areas on port property, including some truck drivers. The regulations are expected to be implemented in late 2007 at Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax, with additional ports added later.

“CTA appreciates the need for enhanced security at Canadian ports, and Transport Canada is to be commended for avoiding a blanket approach to security checks for everyone who sets foot on port property,” according to the CEO of the CTA David Bradley. “But once again we see a situation whereby one federal department fails to recognize security screening done by another. Tens of thousands of Canadian drivers have already been screened under the Free and Secure Trade program jointly operated by the Canada Border Service Agency and US Customs and Border Protection. Why would a driver who has already been screened have to undergo a second process? It should be one or the other.”

In its comments on the proposed regulations CTA also encouraged Transport Canada to ensure consistency in transportation security requirements from one port to the next, require ports to put in place clearly defined procedures for those requiring escorts on port property to prevent delays, and reconsider provisions dealing with monetary penalties to ensure they are applied only against repeat offenders who willfully fail to comply.

“CTA does not expect large numbers of truck drivers to be impacted by these regulations,” noted Bradley. “But the draft regulations once again draw attention to the plain need for rationalization of the way the federal government approaches security screening.”

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