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Measuring the Costs of the Canada-US Border

Type: Research Studies
Date Published: August 16, 2012
Authors:
Research Topics:
Canada-US Relations

Key findings

  • After ten years of post-9/11 border innovations, the costs associated with border crossing have not significantly decreased while government spending on border security has markedly increased. In order to develop performance-based and cost-effective border management policies, an outline of costs associated with the border is required.
  • After adding up the lowest values from the estimated ranges for all three types of costs (trade, tourism/travel, and government programs), we find an annual cost of C$19.1 billion in 2010 or nearly 1.5% of Canada’s GDP.
  • Canadian and American governments should provide detailed descriptions of costs and expenditures for specific border programs and new security measures. Furthermore, these costs/expenditures must be linked to expected outcomes and timelines. "Costs and Results" based evaluations should be undertaken on a year-to-year basis, and subsequently made public.
  • In December 2011, the governments of Canada and the United States issued a joint declaration called Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. While the vision provides specific benchmarks and timelines for measuring progress, it does not tie these guidelines to government expenditures, or reductions in border crossing costs. Either we will continue with incremental and uncoordinated programs, creating some improvements but not lowering the overall cost of the border, or we will begin to create a new border regime.
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