November 29, 2016 10:46 am

No way to tell if billion-dollar border plan is improving security: Auditor general

Vehicles make their way through the Canadian border crossing in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in January of 2016.

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OTTAWA – The federal spending watchdog says the government has no way of telling whether its billion-dollar border plan is improving security or helping speed the flow of goods and people between Canada and the United States.

Auditor general Michael Ferguson says while departments and agencies completed many commitments of the high-profile Beyond the Border plan, they faced numerous challenges and lacked the means to measure results.

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In addition, he finds the government’s own evaluation, made public in September, paints an incomplete and inaccurate picture.

The Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border initiative was unfurled in December 2011 to help protect the continent from terrorist threats while ensuring the efficient passage of travellers and shipments across the 49th parallel.

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Ferguson says the issues are crucial, as last year close to $700 billion in goods traversed the border and people made nearly 150 million land crossings, with millions more by air or water.

He urges a number federal agencies to develop indicators so they can fully assess efforts involving everything from checked baggage screening to trusted-trader programs.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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