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Canada’s Public Safety Minister and US Homeland Security chief: Canadians traveling south should not worry

Today the Honorable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, met with the Honorable John Kelly, U.S.

Today the Honorable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, met with the Honorable John Kelly, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, during his first trip to Canada as Secretary and they made the following statement.

“Some 400,000 people and $2.4 billion in trade cross our shared border every day. There’s no question that a strong relationship is essential to ensuring the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel, while securing our countries from shared threats. Today we continued conversations on our shared interests, common challenges and next steps for joint initiatives.

This work starts with building on our long history of successful passenger preclearance operations, which currently serve nearly 12 million passengers a year on flights to the United States from Canada’s eight largest airports. Following-up on the commitments in March 2016, we discussed next steps to expand preclearance to new locations in air, rail, land, and marine modes. Canada will also continue to consider potential operations in the United States. While there is still work to be done in terms of legislation with the passage of Bill C-23 in Canada, we tasked our officials to report back on these issues, as well as negotiate a path forward to pursue cargo preclearance or pre-inspection, including identifying potential pilot sites.

We recognize the importance of consistent, predictable and respectful interactions at the border for travellers in both directions, and we will continue to look for new ways to improve the flow of legitimate trade and travel. The secure and efficient movement of goods and people across the border helps create jobs and foster economic growth, and is vital to the livelihoods of millions of Americans and Canadians.

We reaffirmed our commitment to information sharing on threats to both our countries and open communication. This will continue to be done in accordance with each country’s privacy laws and policies, as well as joint privacy principles. We look forward to realizing the full benefits of the Entry/Exit initiative once Canadian legislative requirements are met through the passage of Bill C-21. This program has allowed us to confirm the departure of certain travellers without causing any delays at the border.

In light of greater attention to migrant flows into Canada, we reaffirmed our commitment to share information on the situation, uphold our strong asylum systems in keeping with our international obligations, and to enforcing our countries’ laws humanely and with professionalism. We will continue to work together to understand migrant flows, and monitor the situation on our shared land border, both at and between ports of entry.

These are just some of the priorities we touched on today and the first of many conversations. Other challenges we will continue to work on together are cyber security, critical infrastructure, trade enforcement, and countering radicalization to violence, as well as joint border initiatives such as trusted traveller programs.

Secretary Kelly also held discussions with Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ahmed D.Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs on other important areas of Canada-U.S. mutual interest, including aviation security, law enforcement collaboration, infrastructure, and immigration, refugee and visa policy.

We look forward to our continued collaboration on issues that contribute to the security, economic growth and the protection of rights and freedoms in both our great nations.”