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Security clearance deadline looms for port workers

OTTAWA, Ont. -- Beginning on Dec. 15, security clearances will be required by workers at the ports of Montreal, Hal...

OTTAWA, Ont. — Beginning on Dec. 15, security clearances will be required by workers at the ports of Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver, Fraser River and North Fraser River.

As well, security clearances will be required for workers at the control centres of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management, under phase I of the Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program.

The Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program was initially announced on Nov. 16.

“This initiative represents an important step towards enhancing our marine security, and builds upon international requirements and Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Regulations,” said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. “The program will further secure Canada’s ports against terrorist and organized crime activities, while ensuring the continued competitiveness of our marine industry in an increasingly global environment.”

The program aims to reduce the risk of security threats and helps prevent unlawful interference with the marine transportation system by requiring marine workers who perform certain duties or who have access to certain restricted areas to have a transportation security clearance. These areas include: marine facilities that contain the central controls for security and surveillance equipment; areas that contain the central lighting system controls; areas designated for the loading or unloading of cargo and ships’ stores at cruise ship terminals; and land adjacent to vessels interfacing with cruise ship terminals.

“Extensive consultations have been conducted with stakeholders, including industry and labour representatives, in order to develop amendments to the Marine Transportation Security Regulations, and specifically the Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program,” added Cannon. “These requirements for workers take into account feedback and input from that process, and ensure the program balances security for our ports with individual privacy rights.”

The second phase of the program will extend the transportation security clearance requirement to the ports of Prince Rupert, Victoria, Windsor, Toronto, Hamilton, Quebec, Saint John and St. John’s and is scheduled to be implemented by Dec. 15, 2008.

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