Business Council of Canada concerned over continued Nexus closure in letter to U.S.

A Canada Border Services Agency officer speaks with a traveller at the Nexus office at the airport in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 8, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The Business Council of Canada says it is concerned over the continued closure of the Nexus trusted-traveller program.

Business Council of Canada CEO Goldy Hyder says it is “deeply troubling” that the U.S. government has not reopened 13 Nexus enrolment centres, in a letter to David Cohen, the American ambassador to Canada, obtained by The Canadian Press.

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The two countries are in dispute over a long-standing request by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that its agents be afforded the same legal protections inside Nexus facilities in Canada that they currently have at ports of entry like airports and the Canada-U.S. border.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has cited the principles of Canadian sovereignty in explaining why U.S. customs officers can’t have the same legal protections at the Nexus centres that they do at airports and the border.

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Hyder says in his letter to Cohen he fears the dispute will hurt businesses whose employees do not already have a Nexus card and she strongly urges the ambassador to recommend reopening the enrolment centres.

Canada’s envoy to the U.S., Kristen Hillman, said last week the trusted-traveller program is being “held hostage” by unilateral American efforts to renegotiate the 20-year-old preclearance agreement between the United States and its northern neighbour.

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