Proposed border fee for Canadians ruffles snowbird feathers

TORONTO, April 21, 2013 /CNW/ - The United States government wants Canadians to pay to enter the United States to help ease their desperate financial situation.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests a study to determine the feasibility of collecting a fee from pedestrians and passenger vehicles crossing between the United States and Canada by land.

Whether this fee would focus on those entering or exiting the United States, or both, and how much each crossing might cost has yet to be determined.

"While we appreciate the fiscal challenges faced by our friends in the United States we would prefer the U.S. government focus on ways to reduce obstacles at the border that hinder trade and tourism," MacKenzie said.

The Canada-U.S. economic relationship is one of the largest in the world. Trade in goods and services between the two countries totaled $645 billion in 2010—more than $1.7 billion in goods and services each day.

Fees for many commercial goods and agricultural inspections are already charged at the U.S. - Canada border. Airline passengers in both countries already pay significant security fees on top of their ticket prices.

Below is the language as it appears in the Department of Homeland Security's budget proposal

SEC. 544. (a) The Commissioner of the United States Customs and Border Protection shall:
(1) conduct a study assessing the feasibility and cost relating to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee for both land border pedestrians and passenger vehicles along the northern and southwest borders of the United States; the study should include:
(A) the feasibility of collecting from existing operators on the land border such as bridge commissions, toll operators, commercial passenger bus, and commercial passenger rail;
(B) requirements to collect at land ports of entry where existing capability is not present; and
(C) any legal and regulatory impediments to establishing and collecting a land border crossing fee; and
(2) complete the study within 9 months of enactment of this Act.

The Canadian Snowbird Association is a 70,000 member, non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Canadian travellers from across the country. The CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians, helping to ensure access to safe, healthy travel with no restrictions on freedom of movement.

SOURCE Canadian Snowbird Association




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