iPolitics offers an excellent roundup of yesterday’s throne speech, highlighting the Beyond the Border (BtB) Action Plan and Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC):
Canada and the United States have taken several steps since the 2011 throne speech to streamline the border and smooth regulations. Border Initiatives: the two countries have developed an Integrated Cargo Security Strategy for offshore shipments, recognized each other’s air cargo security programs for passenger aircraft which reduces the need for re-screening as well as increased and harmonized the thresholds for expedited customs clearance. The NEXUS trusted traveler program has been expanded and the second phase of the entry/exit initiative along the border has been implemented, sharing entry data on all travellers except U.S. and Canadian citizens. Under the Shiprider program, U.S. Coast Guard and RCMP are working together on boats in waterways, a joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan has been drafted as well as a land border traffic management guide and a joint Cybersecurity Action Plan. Canada and the U.S are continuing to work on other Border Action Plan initiatives such as harmonizing trusted trader programs and pre-clearance for land, rail and sea crossings. Regulatory Initiatives: Canada and the U.S. have identified 29 regulatory cooperation initiatives and bi-national working groups are implementing work plans in four main sectors (agriculture and food, transportation, health and personal care products, environment). Agreements have been reached to harmonize some vehicle safety standards, joint review of veterinary drug submissions and pilot testing for a common electronic submission gateway for new pharmaceutical products. The Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council was seeking input on areas that should be addressed in the next phase of regulatory cooperation between the two countries.