To any returning Canadian dreading customs clearance at Toronto’s Pearson airport, the idea of pre-clearing in Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, or Chicago instead, may sound like Nirvana.
But that very idea has been moved forward through recent cross-border talks between Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and US Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in Washington.
According to The Canadian Press, the expansion of pre-clearance services—with Canadian agents posted in key US cities—is strongly favored by the Trump Administration and talks have begun on facilitating such actions.
“You’ve got an administration on the American side and certainly on our side, that really wants to move these files,” said Minister Goodale.
Preclearance of US-bound flights in Canadian airports has a long history, but this is the first time that establishing Canadian facilities south of the border has been elevated to a priority item.
Where such facilities would initially be located is still to be discussed, but Goodale told The Canadian Press that further meetings will be held on this issue in the spring.
Passenger preclearance is part of a much larger and ongoing cross-border discussion involving preclearance for cargo, such as autos being shipped right from the plant.