Legislation has now been introduced in the Senate that will allow the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) to implement its five-year Customs Action Plan. The Customs Action Plan-the CCRA’s modern vision for border management and trade administration-was first announced in April 2000, with the document entitled Investing in the Future: The Customs Action Plan 2000-2004.
“This legislation provides a bold and innovative step forward in our plans to modernize Canada’s borders and border processing, It promotes Canadian competitiveness and prosperity in the world marketplace by streamlining the movement of legitimate trade and travel, and by allowing us to do a better job of protecting Canadians,” said Martin Cauchon, Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec.
The Bill proposes amendments to the Customs Act that would allow the CCRA to focus its efforts on high or unknown risks and on health and safety issues. CCRA is trying to create a comprehensive risk management system incorporating the principles of self-assessment, advance information and pre-approval, supported by advanced technology.
“Several Customs Action Plan initiatives will benefit travellers while others will benefit importers. As well, other initiatives will promote transparency, better client service, and fairness in the spirit of the CCRA’s Fairness Initiative, and will harmonize certain aspects of the Customs Act with other program legislation the CCRA administers,” says Cauchon.
Besides proposing other technical and administrative amendments, several major Customs Action Plan initiatives will be implemented as a result of this legislation. Among others, these initiatives include: Customs Self-Assessment (CSA), which will offer commercial importers a quicker and more dependable way to get their goods across the border, by quickly releasing low-risk goods at the border when low-risk importers identify themselves; the Expedited Passenger Processing System (EPPS), which will allow pre-approved travellers to use automated kiosks to clear customs and immigration at airports quickly; and the expansion of the CANPASS family of permit-based programs, which will help pre-approved, low-risk travellers to cross the Canada-U.S. border more quickly.
The legislation also proposes: less formal administrative reviews and extension of time limits for clients appealing fines; a more simple redress process for third parties; advance ruling on tariff classification of goods on a legislative basis, clarifying situations for importers and giving them expanded appeal rights; and the harmonization of collection mechanisms, payment due dates and applications of interest on duties.