Border crossings under review

Leaked document details potential changes for Nelway and Midway border crossings.

Two regional border crossings might be in for changes or a possible closure based on a leaked document that shines the light on the fate of some of Canada’s small ports of entry.

On the heels of the recently announced Canada-U.S. border and perimeter security deal, comes an internal report detailing the next step in streamlining border crossings.

The initial results of the “Small Port Working Group,” a joint group with U.S. and Canadian participation, details four options considered by both border agencies.

The four options listed in the document are; shared facilities, remote technology solution, mirror port hours and closure.

The Paterson border crossing is not listed in the report and the document noted “no change,” should occur at the Waneta crossing.

Brad Britton, superintendent at the Paterson crossing, said that port wasn’t listed because it’s probably considered a “high traffic” crossing.

He couldn’t provide any specific comment on the document.

“I haven’t had a chance to read the report,” he said Thursday.

The report identifies the Midway crossing for three potential changes – closure, remote-technology solution or shared facilities.

Meanwhile, the Nelway border crossing has been identified for remote technology solution, which consists of travelers interviewed by border personnel via video camera.

However, with no staff on location to perform searches, critics warn it would make an ideal point of entry for smugglers.

Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union, shared his surprise and concerns about the report with CBC News reporter Evan Dyer.

While he supported some of the proposed changes, he had concerns about the remote solution.

“What about if the person actually is not admissible?” he told Dyer. “And he’s right in front of your camera and you’re talking to him via a phone line or something – you need to have somebody on site.”

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) did not respond to questions by press time Thursday.

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