On May 12, 2016, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) announced that it is expanding Free and Secure Trade (FAST) benefits for members of its trusted trader programs. The FAST Program is a joint Canada–U.S. initiative to enhance border and trade chain security and make cross-border commercial shipments simpler and subject to fewer delays. FAST gives members of the CBSA trusted trader programs access to dedicated lanes and booths (permitting alternative presentation) at specified ports of entry that allow them priority access to the border and expedited clearance.
The CBSA plans to increase the number of dedicated FAST lanes to provide low-risk, pre-approved importers, carriers and drivers with expedited clearance at the border. By winter 2017, dedicated FAST lanes will be in operation at Fort Erie, Ontario, and at Pacific Highway, British Columbia. A new FAST lane will be opened at Emerson, Manitoba by spring 2018.
The CBSA also announced that FAST Program eligibility requirements will also be expanded at existing FAST sites in Sarnia and Pacific Highway, and at future sites at Fort Erie and Emerson. These improvements will expedite commercial traffic at the border by allowing more trusted traders access to the FAST benefit.
The CBSA provided the following facts:
- In 2014, Canada–United States trade surpassed CAN$680 billion (goods and services), meaning that nearly $2 billion worth of goods and services crosses the border daily—over $1 million traded every minute.
- Canada and the United States continue to develop a common approach for Trusted Trader programs that aligns requirements, enhances member benefits, and facilitates the cross-border movement of commercial goods.
- As of April 2016, the CBSA had over 61,000 registered FAST drivers; 679 FAST-approved carriers and 71 FAST-approved importers.
- Existing FAST sites in Canada are located at Windsor, ON; Sarnia, ON; and Pacific Highway, BC.
The CBSA also issued a Backgrounder on Fast and Secure Trade.