Union calls for Canadian border clearance centers

| 11/14/2001

A union official for Canadian customs workers wants five massive clearance centers built at the border to process trucks. The union, which represents 3,500 Canada Customs officers, is upset that exporters can't get their goods into the United States fast enough due to the increased border scrutiny since Sept. 11.

The Custom Excise Union's plan reportedly calls for both Canadian and U.S. customs officials handling multiple trucks at clearance areas near the border points in Windsor, Ontario; St. Stephen, New Brunswick; Lacolle, Quebec; Coutts, Alberta; and Pacific Highway, British Columbia. The clearance areas would be divided in two, with Canadian officers inspecting American trucks on one side and American officers inspecting Canadian trucks on the other.

The union believes clearance centers would alleviate time-consuming lineups, free officers at the border to concentrate on security screening of travelers, and ensure Canada's export revenues to the United States do not drop off, according to published reports. The union is seeking a meeting with Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley on the issue.