In October 2000, Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded a Memorandum of Cooperation that highlighted the importance of coordinating closely on transportation initiatives along the Canada-U.S. border. The Memorandum cited the need for "increasing the degree and speed of communication" between both departments, and stressed the importance of "meeting more regularly to conduct information exchanges and discuss issues of mutual concern."
Out of this spirit, the Canada-U.S. Transportation Border Working Group (TBWG) was formed during January 2001. Its core membership includes federal, state and provincial departments of transportation from both sides of the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Canada Border Services Agency. As well, Foreign Affairs Canada and the U.S. Department of State participate, as do other partners, such as regional planning organizations. Canadian provinces and U.S. northern border states are partners in this forum, and attend meetings at their discretion. Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration co-chair the TBWG.
Our mission: In order to improve the transportation and inspection systems that connect our two countries, the TBWG enhances border related infrastructure, operations, safety, security, and environmental stewardship by convening federal, state, provincial agencies, and other organizations to coordinate federal planning and policy implementation; improve information technology applications and data sharing; support states’ and provinces’ work with federal agencies and with each other as an essential component of this mission; and foster communication, information sharing, and the exchange of best practices.
The TBWG meets in a plenary session twice annually, and
Canada and the U.S. alternate as hosts. The first plenary
meeting was held in Windsor, Ontario in January 2002. In
addition to biannual sessions, subcommittees of the TBWG meet
regularly throughout the year to pursue issues and products that
are of a broad interest to partners. For example, subcommittees
presently are working to promote a Border Information Flow
Architecture to enhance border technology interoperability, and
maintain a Border Infrastructure Compendium that compiles
descriptive information and infrastructure needs for all the Canada-U.S. land border ports of entry. Other key priorities for the TBWG, which are identified in our Action Plan, include data collection and analysis, border technology programs, and communications and information exchange.
At the TBWG plenary meeting in Calgary in October 2004, participants concluded a substantive discussion of the TBWG's accomplishments, its structure, and future directions. It was agreed at that time that a more focused
subcommittee should be formed to examine options for implementing change within the TBWG, and for charting new directions. Following the meeting in Calgary, the new
subcommittee produced an Options Paper that contained fifteen recommendations for improving the TBWG. One of the key recommendations implemented was the formation of a Steering Committee to provide for the inclusive, productive, and efficient coordination of activities. The Steering Committee confirmed its membership in June 2005, and held its first conference call that same month.
Since Minister David Collenette and Secretary Rodney Slater
signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in 2000, the TBWG has grown
into a network of nearly 200 policy advisors, transportation planners, and other professionals across more than 20 states and provinces, a dozen federal agencies, and several planning organizations. As such, the TBWG has gelled into a productive mechanism through which Canadian and American partners pursue initiatives along the border that add value to the largest bi-lateral trading relationship in the entire world.
On behalf of our Steering Committee colleagues, we wish to express our sincere dedication to ensuring that the TBWG continues to be a productive, useful, and informative forum for all of our partners.
U.S. Federal Highway Administration