The nexus: Ottawa and Washington in dispute over legal protection

Canada and the United States are reportedly at loggerheads over the Nexus Secure Travel Program, which provides legal protection for United States Customs and Border Protection officers working in Canadian offices. The Globe and Mail.

The disagreement has a direct impact on the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who can quickly cross the border between the two countries and are still waiting for their application to be approved.

Under a 2019 agreement between the two countries, Americans will demand the same protection afforded to their prior clearance agents at Canadian land crossings and airports.

Although joint, the Nexus program involves both Canadian and U.S. customs agents to investigate applicants, unlike pre-clearance areas that are administered exclusively by Americans.

However, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino put his foot down on Tuesday, pointing out that U.S. customs officials will not benefit from the same protections as the Nexus registration centers in Canadian pre-clearance rooms.

“There is an important principle of Canadian sovereignty which is to ensure that the laws apply to public servants and foreign public servants who come here to perform an official function like any other person,” he noted.

“We want to be pragmatic, but we want to adhere to important Canadian principles, one of which is that Canadian law applies on Canadian soil,” the minister added.

The two countries are still discussing a date to reopen enrollment centers on Canadian soil that have been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conversely, US offices have already reopened, but listed several difficulties in getting an appointment.

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According to a representative of the US Embassy in Ottawa, almost 60% of Nexus processing requests are made in Canada and 80% of requests are from Canadians.

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