Border costs up to $19B/year: Report
Vehicles cross the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls on June 27, 2011. (MIKE DIBATTISTA/QMI AGENCY)
Delays and security checks at the border are costing Canadians up to $19.1 billion a year, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Fraser Institute broke down the costs of increased security at the Canada-U.S. border since Sept. 11, 2001, and money lost due to declines in trade and tourism.
"Canadians and Americans are at a crossroads: either we continue with incremental and unco-ordinated border programs as we have often done since 9/11 or we begin to create a new border regime," Alexander Moens, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of the report, said in a release Thursday.
Since 2001, the share of Canadian exports to the U.S. fell 11%, according to statistics cited in the report.
"It's real money that comes out of real people's pockets," said Christian Leuprecht, an associate professor of political science at Queen's University and the Royal Military College of Canada, who didn't participate in the study. "Does it make sense that we needlessly incur increasing costs for doing trade with one another, when we might want to look at how we can work more effectively to counter the rising economies of China and Brazil?"
Losses have been felt in the tourism industry as well, the report says.
According to Statistics Canada, U.S. residents taking overnight trips to Canada dropped 23% over the last decade, from 15.2 million in 2000 to 11.7 million in 2009.
The report makes several recommendations for the governments to better meld common security strategies at the border. It also lauds the U.S and Canadian governments for coming to a deal in June to build a new bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, Mich., to reduce long waits at border crossings and aid the automotive industry.
"The building of a new bridge in the vicinity of Windsor-Detroit is a commendable decision as it promises to improve the logistics of North American automobile manufacturing, and thereby strengthen economic prospects for both Canada and the United States," Moens said.