Canadian and U.S. governments team up with business to test border emergency plans in Vancouver



    OTTAWA, April 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today completed three days of
exercises in Vancouver with public and private partners to find ways to
improve communications between government authorities and the business
community that would help keep trade moving in the event of a border
emergency.
    "Ensuring the smooth flow of nearly $2 billion worth of goods and
services that cross the Canada-U.S. border daily is vital," said Public Safety
Minister Stockwell Day. "This exercise is a direct result of the $24 million
Canada's New Government dedicated to business resumption planning earlier this
year."
    "This exercise shows how our two countries and the private sector can
collaborate to minimize the impact of an emergency," said U.S. CBP
Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. "The more thoughtful consideration we give now
to worst-case scenarios, the better prepared we will be in the future to
lessen damage, including to international trade."
    Over 90 representatives from federal, provincial, state and municipal
governments, law-enforcement agencies and businesses - including major
exporters, importers and Chambers of Commerce - worked through scenarios
involving disruptions at major land border crossings and marine ports of entry
sites in British Columbia's lower mainland and northwest Washington State.
    "It is important for government and industry to work together to create
coordinated contingency plans to minimize the economic impact of disruptions,"
said Shirley-Ann George, Vice-President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
"Only by bringing all the key stakeholders together in these types of critical
exercises can we have a reasonable level of confidence that we are ready to
handle the impacts of both the immediate problems and the process for getting
back to normal."
    The CBSA and U.S. CBP will continue to work with their public and private
sector partners to conduct more exercises and strengthen protocols to ensure
an appropriate coordinated response that would minimize the impact on business
in the event of an incident at the border.
    This initiative is an example of work being undertaken through the
Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). The SPP is a
commitment by Canada, the United States and Mexico to work together to build a
safer and more economically dynamic North America. The SPP outlines an agenda
for greater cooperation in areas as diverse as security, transportation, and
public health, and provides a framework for the partners to enhance their
planning and response capacities to reduce the potential impact of emergency
situations.




For further information:

For further information: Media Relations - Pacific Region, Canada Border
Services Agency, (604) 666-5492


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