The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, along with Ray LaHood, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation, and Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security have released the first-ever joint Canada-United States Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP). The development and release of this initiative fulfills a commitment made under the 2011 Canada-United States Beyond the Border Action Plan.
The BIIP is an interagency and binational planning mechanism developed to establish a mutual understanding of recent, ongoing and potential border infrastructure investments. It outlines the approach that Canada and the United States will take to coordinate plans for physical infrastructure upgrades at small and remote ports of entry. This initiative will be updated and disseminated annually.
The BIIP, along with other initiatives under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, is designed to benefit the integrated economies of Canada and the United States, which depend on the fluid movement of commercial and non-commercial traffic across our shared border. Its release follows recent announcements by the Government of Canada of significant investments at four initial priority land ports of entry identified by Canada in the Action Plan: Lacolle, Quebec; Lansdowne, Ontario (Thousand Islands Bridge); Emerson, Manitoba; and North Portal, Saskatchewan. The modernization of major border crossings will reduce wait times, increase reliability of just-in-time shipments, and decrease fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Canada and the United States enjoy the world’s largest trading partnership, with two-way merchandise trade totalling $570 billion in 2012.
In addition, the Government of Canada announced, in July 2012, the installation of technology to measure and report border wait times at the Peace and Queenston-Lewiston Bridges. The $1.7-million project was completed in partnership with United States Customs and Border Protection, the United States Federal Highway Administration and the Canada Border Services Agency.