There are a great number of Canadians & Americans who have never had a passport. Will they think it too much of a hassle and reconsider plans to travel across the border either way, which they may have done if passports were not required as in the past? Particularly travelling by vehicle. Many of these trips in the past may have been spontaneous decisions. For instance, someone from Ontario, visiting in British Columbia...drove East to West via TransCanada Hwy, but for a change of scenery choose to drive back through the U.S. states along the border. This happens all the time (both Americans & Canadians). I wonder how this will affect travel between Canada & USA...will tourism drop? It will be interesting to see. For myself, having American heritage, I've always recognized Canada & US as two separate countries, but considered us very similar because we both live a similar standard of living...we're just taxed ALOT higher! :-( I feel like both countries have just been further alienated.
The Nexus program started last year for land crossing areas between the US and Canada. Vancouver, and Sarnia were the test sites. I just checked yesterday and they are now approving it for all land crossing sites. This means you have already been checked out by the FBI and RCMP, provided fingerprints or Retinal scans which ever the local office has. Then when you cross or even land by air at Vancouver International, you go thru a quicker line because you've been deemed at minimum risk to be a threat or smuggler. My sister tells me at the BC/WA crossing the lane starts about 5 miles before the border crossing and there is no big waiting at the border. So if they are already starting this program, why now add the passport requirement? Seems a double dip by both governments to me!
I live right on a border with Michigan and it would affect things here majorly. We have alot of people that live on one side and work on the other. For example nurses are in a shortage in MI, so they pay better than over here......what will happen with them. There's another university in MI, that has an agreement with the college and university here, so there are students from both sides with student visas going back and forth. This will affect 2000 students.
Plenty of us go across just for an evening at one of their casinos and again have workers from both sides.
Plainly it means a mess here. They run your plate and check your ID when you go across. They know who are local and who aren't already. We have to cross a mile long bridge, I think this would cause huge line ups on both sides. Causing alot of stress on a 40 year old bridge.
The minister of customs and immigration did say however if the US does impliment this Canada will too. This will create a paperwork nightmare in civil services and not enough workers on either side to keep up with the demand. They just came up with the NEXUS cards, for frequent travellers across in Vancouver and Sarnia as test spots. Why not just continue this program, (you are checked out by both governments and approved in advance). Seems alot better idea to me! What a mess!
The NEXUS cards? I haven't heard about them. What are they? A couple of months ago they began implementing a retinal scan so those who flew frequently to the US could pass through customs quicker. Alot of business people have already had it done here.