Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada

December 26, 2007 18:25 ET

Minister Day Welcomes Decision to Delay Passport Requirements for Land and Sea Travel Under the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 26, 2007) - The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, issued the following statement in response to the decision by the United States to delay until June 1, 2009, at the earliest, implementation of passport requirements for travel by land and sea under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). The 18-month delay of the passport requirement was contained in the budgetary spending bill passed last week by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bush today.

"I am pleased that the U.S. has decided to delay the implementation of the WHTI for travel by land and sea. However, I remain concerned about the impact the United States' WHTI will have on the economy and border communities of both countries.

WHTI is a new U.S. law, now in place for air travel, which will eventually require all Canadians (and Americans) who are entering the U.S. to have a passport or other secure identity document.

In my meetings with Secretary Chertoff and members of Congress, I have been steadfast in underlining the importance of taking the time needed to get this right. I will continue to work with Secretary Chertoff to confirm that alternative secure documents, such as enhanced driver's licences, will be accepted to enter the United States across the land border instead of a passport. Our government's efforts have generated considerable support for such alternative documents.

In particular, I am pleased that our government's efforts have resulted in youth aged 18 and under being allowed to present only a birth certificate to enter the United States by land or water.

While the government's efforts have produced results, we continue to encourage all Canadians to get a passport if they plan to travel to the United States.

This delay in WHTI implementation only applies to Canadians traveling by land and sea. Canadians flying to or through the U.S. must present a valid Canadian passport or a valid NEXUS card when used at a NEXUS kiosk at participating airports."

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
    Minister of Public Safety
    Melisa Leclerc
    Director of Communications
    613-991-2863