A border agreement between Canada and the U.S. will result in better security for trade and travel across the world’s longest shared boundary, according to Astrid Pregel, Canada’s Atlanta-based consul general for the Southeast.
Ms. Pregel told GlobalFax last week that “every type of transportation from rail to air” is being evaluated for security precautions.
The agreement is of critical importance to Georgians, she added, since Canada is Georgia’s largest foreign trading partner. Some 158,000 Georgians visited Canada last year, while 385,000 Canadians came to Georgia, she said. In addition, she pointed out that 600,000 passengers travel between Hartsfield International Airport and Canadian airports annually.
Canadian immigration officials have been acutely aware of the security problems around the world, having stopped in the past six years more than 33,000 people with false documents before they boarded planes for Canada, Ms. Pregel said.
Both Canada and the U.S., she added, are to increase the number of immigration officials at airports such as London’s Heathrow and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle “because they have been so successful in stopping illegal immigrants and potential terrorists…”
Among 30 measures called for under the agreement, she cited a permanent residence card for Canadians that “will contain the most up-to-date security features and fraud resistance,” and the development of an automated immigration database for exchange of information on both sides of the border.
Ms. Pregel also pointed to a new law allowing Canadian air carriers to provide basic passenger and crew data to foreign governments, including the U.S.
Better monitoring of goods can be achieved, she said, by the extension of a pilot project instituted at the ports of Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada and Newark, N.J.. The project has enabled U.S. customs authorities to request their Canadian counterparts to screen marine containers bound for U.S. ports.
A transcript of Ms. Pregel’s remarks may be found at www.globalatlanta.com