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Immigration lawyer questions preclearance agreement, citing potential privacy risks

Last Updated Jun 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm PDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – A new agreement between Canada and the United States will soon allow travellers and cargo to pre-clear customs before they leave.

The move is expected to bring land, rail and sea crossing rules more in line with policies in place for years to reduce wait times at airports.

Len Saunders is an immigration lawyer and says the deal is short on details.

“From what I’ve seen from the bill and from the lack of clarification from the Canadian government, I do not believe this is going to be expediting individuals going into the United States,” says Saunders.

Preclearance operations will now include more airports and for the first time include cargo movement over the border.

But Saunders worries that this will give Americans valuable personal information on Canadians that could put their privacy at risk.

“It’s a real slippery slope of allowing the Americans to have more autonomy,” says Saunders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump announced they hope to have the preclearance agreement in place by this summer.


– With files from The Canadian Press