The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have jointly announced a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) enrollment event taking place from July 12-16 at the Fort Erie enrollment centre. Registration is open for conditionally approved new FAST applicants, with instructions on how to register available in both English –FAST Enrollment Event Update-EN_public and French – FAST Enrollment Event Update-FR_public.
Interview spots for this event are limited, so interested carriers and drivers looking to attain their FAST cards are encouraged to register as soon as possible.
The FAST program is a commercial clearance program designed to ensure security while expediting legitimate trade across the Canada-US border. The program also allows qualifying carriers, drivers, and other supply chain partners access to privileges such as FAST lane access, and the ability to meet requirements to participate in bilateral border trade and security programs.
In-person interviews for entry into bilateral programs such as FAST, along with various government services have been on pause since the beginning of the pandemic. During this period, the lack of new FAST drivers has continued to put a strain on carrier operations, particularly those moving dangerous goods or automotive commodities, where a FAST card remains critical for cross-border transport and security clearance.
Although a system was introduced to manage FAST renewals during the pandemic, including a recent announcement on the extension of benefits for current FAST members, the Canada-US border restrictions were also a factor in continuing to limit the ability of truck drivers to be interviewed and satisfy requirements for the program.
“The Canadian Trucking Alliance would like to thank the Governments of Canada and the United States for working cooperatively as long-standing trade partners to address this important issue,” said CTA’s director of Policy Lak Shoan. “CTA would particularly like to thank Ministers Blair and Alghabra and the team at CBSA who worked diligently to make this event happen, despite the challenges of this complex situation.”
CTA will continue to push for the creation of additional pilot events in regions across Canada where the demand for new FAST drivers remains urgent. CTA will inform members of any updates to this process in the weeks to come.