Challenge to port security policy initiates temporary exemption

VANCOUVER — A marine worker security clearance program at the ports of Vancouver and Fraser River is delayed because the International Longshore and Warehouse Union is refusing to participate in the application process and has launched a constitutional challenge against the legislation.

Phase 1 of the Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program becomes effective on December 15, 2007. But the Port of Vancouver announced that Transport Canada has granted a temporary exemption until Feb. 20, 2008.

The program requires that ILWU employees and other port workers entering certain areas of the ports possess a Transport Canada Security Clearance.

Under Section 12 of the Marine Transportation Security Act, Transport Canada has authorized the Director General of Marine Security to issue a temporary exemption order from the regulations.

During this period of time, terminal operators will continue to pursue all avenues to encourage specific workers to apply for the security clearance required for their positions, says the VPA. Terminal operators will also be able to institute special interim security arrangements.

The port authority says there will be no operational disruption of container or cruise terminal business on December 15, 2007.

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