Start preparing for FAST card renewals: CBSA

OTTAWA — It seems like only yesterday you were filling out paperwork, scrambling to find an open FAST enrollment center, and waiting for untold minutes on the phone to book a face-to-face interview with the appropriate customs authority.

Now get ready to do some of it all over again — at least if you’re a driver who was one of the first to obtain a FAST card in 2003.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reminding carrier companies and drivers that FAST driver registration cards are only valid for five years and those issued in 2003 will expire in early 2008.

Considering the amount of time it took to get the card the first time around, CBSA is encouraging carriers to advise their drivers they should begin the renewal process at least three months before their card expires.

Drivers must complete a new application and submit it along with the applicable processing fee to a FAST commercial driver enrolment center.

FAST isn’t only used to expedite security clearance at the border. In the hazmat sector, for example, the card is used as a substitute for U.S. hazardous material background checks.

Meanwhile, trucking association officials are still lobbying U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review its policy concerning the removal of FAST cards from drivers.

Too many drivers are losing their cards for minor clerical errors, says the Ontario Trucking Association. And proper mechanisms are not in place for drivers to obtain information on why their cards have been cancelled or whether they will even have their FAST status reinstated.

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