Niagara Chamber joins other urging governments to restore applications process to NEXUS


Published November 8, 2022 at 1:00 pm

Over 60 Canadian business associations have signed a letter asking both the Canadian and Americans federal governments to restart the NEXUS application process. A dispute has seen a backlog of 350,000 applications gathering dust.

With three Canada-United States land border crossings in the Niagara Region, it comes as little surprise that the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce was one of nearly 60 Canadian business associations signing a letter asking the two federal governments to reopen the application process in the NEXUS offices.

In the region, there is the Queenston-Lewiston crossing in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie and Buffalo.

While the hold-up was initially attributed to an issue over whether American NEXUS officers could be armed, that turned out to be a false flag.

It turns out the closure of the NEXUS facilities stems from a disagreement about American employee immunity from prosecution on Canadian soil — not unlike the protection for diplomats.

Oddly, these protections already exist for U.S. border agents at Canadian airports, such as Pearson International in Mississauga, working in customs pre-clearance sites.

The American side says some of these NEXUS offices are co-located in the same facility and it makes no sense for different rules to apply in different parts of the office.

At the moment, there is a backlog of more than 350,000 people awaiting NEXUS cards and that number continues to grow every day.

The NEXUS offices had been shut down since the border restrictions at the height of the COVID-19 days and have, in fact, never been reopened since due to the lingering debate between the two countries.

The open letter sent to both Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino and American Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is calling on Canada and the United States to restore service to NEXUS and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) applicants as quickly as possible.

“In 2019, tourists from the U.S. represented over two-thirds of all international tourist arrivals to Canada, reaching 25 million visitors in the year before the global pandemic,” said the letter.

“The same year saw 44 million trips by Canadians to the U.S. Having a jointly managed trusted traveller program is essential, both to foster economic growth and to deepen the ties between our countries’ citizens.”

Since the NEXUS and FAST travellers are considered low-risk border crossers due to the stringent security checks with the application process, the letter notes the two programs “have allowed our citizens and goods to pass across our shared border more efficiently at the same time as they enhanced security by allowing government border security resources to be deployed where they are most needed, focusing on unknown people and goods, as opposed to hindering low-risk travellers and carriers at our borders.”

With regards to the present dispute, the business associations concluded, “We understand that officials in both Canada and the U.S. have expressed concerns about the positions taken by the other country. However, the urgent need of our countries’ citizens and businesses to benefit from a system that is both secure and efficient should take priority over bureaucratic disputes.”

“Just as our countries did in creating the Smart Border Accord two decades ago, we ask our leaders to demonstrate the creativity and commitment to urgently resolve the outstanding issues and to restore and strengthen a bilateral relationship that is the envy of the world.”


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