Easing the chokepoints - Ontario Chamber releases plan for effective border

    SARNIA, ON, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - Urgent action is needed to reduce
restrictions to trade and travel between the largest trading partners in the
world - Canada and the US. This according to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
in the release of the third in a series of reports about the challenges facing
the Canada-US border.
    Easing the Chokepoints, A Plan for an Efficient Canada-US Border,
describes cross border traffic which is fraught with delays, regulatory
entanglements and aging infrastructure with no long term plan in sight. The
report contains a comprehensive set of recommendations, informed by surveys,
interviews, research and expert opinion.
    "Our border crossings - the lifelines of our economy - have instead
become the chokepoints - currently suffering from the worst backlogs since
9/11," explains Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of
Commerce. "While the rest of the world is progressing towards fewer trade and
travel barriers, Canada and the US appear to be creating more and more
roadblocks. Last week's Montebello Summit was a small beginning but we - all
stakeholders on both sides of the border - must proceed with urgency to
protect our economic security."
    Easing the Chokepoints, A Plan for an Efficient Canada-US Border, builds
on two previous reports by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce which quantified
the drain on the Canadian and US economies caused by border delays at
$13.6 Billion (CDN) annually. Ontario has been absorbing a staggering
$5.25 Billion each year.
    "We feel the intense drain on our local economy here in Sarnia Lambton as
tourists, manufacturers and Michigan day-trippers re-evaluate their travel
plans," says Garry McDonald, President, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.
"We are most concerned that present delays will lead to future habits and
business decisions that do not include our community."
    Blue Water Bridge, Canada's second busiest commercial truck crossing and
fourth busiest overall, dwarfs the crowd attending today's announcement.
President & CEO Chuck Chrapko describes the giant problems facing their
customers, "Just in time shipments to the US have become JUST OUT OF TIME due
to frequent backups of commercial and passenger vehicles at the Blue Water
Bridge. Governments in Canada and the US need a short term plan and long term
solution to deal with this debilitating problem obstructing our two nations'
    Easing the Chokepoints, A Plan for an Efficient Canada-US Border, will be
used by chambers of commerce and boards of trade throughout Ontario as they
seek real, concrete solutions to the critical issues facing the Canada-US
    The report is available online at www.occ.on.ca or at chambers of
commerce and boards of trade throughout the province including Windsor, St.
Catharines, Fort Erie, Sault Ste. Marie, Fort Frances, Cornwall, Kingston,
Gananoque, Brockville and Prescott.

    The OCC represents over 57,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of
Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since
1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the
economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance &
taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.

For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, Director, Media Relations and
Communications, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241, C:
(416) 605-8205, amyterrill@occ.on.ca

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