Canadian Underwriter

Canadian security gains strength (June 27, 2005)

June 27, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter

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Canadian security is set to skyrocket with the inception of a new North American plan intended to improve the response to internal and external threats while bolstering free flow of trade between Canada, U.S. and Mexico, according to Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan.
In a recent press conference in Ottawa McLellan says the strategy, offering 300 specific proposals, was developed as a result of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America’s inception.
Guiding these new measures are issues including: outside threat security; prevention of internal threat; and, free flow of trade and commerce.
“Some specific initiatives include testing biometric technology in screening travelers, developing benchmarks on visa issues and developing a coordinated strategy on threats to our food supply and agricultural sectors,” McLellan says.
Improving the international harmony of screening measures is integral for heightened security as it will protect against the threat of dangerous goods and people entering the country. Adding to this step toward safety, the three governments will share information regarding “high-risk individuals and cargo.”
In addition, McLellan says all parties involved will prepare a coordinated response to large-scale incidents.
“We will also be working to help ensure the resumption of business following a major incident impacting border operations,” she adds.
McLellan’s announcement follows a major security breach at Vancouver’s international airport where a man carrying a backpack slipped past the pre-board screening and left undetected on a flight to Toronto. As a result of the incident, thousands of passengers were forced to wait while the man was finally searched. Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) spokesperson Jacqueline Bannister says CATSA, the Vancouver Airport Authority and Transport Canada will also be looking at ways to improve airport security, including the physical setup of the screening area.