FAST card under consideration in Canada

A free and secure trade (FAST) card for Canadian truck drivers is a way they can meet US security requirements, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA). The card would be jointly administered by Canadian and US customs agencies, would require a background check, and would be recognized as proof of security clearance for Canadian drivers crossing the US/Canada border.

CTA has been pitching the idea to officials at the US Department of Homeland Security and to the Canadian government. Transport Canada, the Canadian equivalent of the US Department of Transportation, is considering the use of the FAST card as a driver security credential, at least as an interim solution, according to CTA.

“To move this issue forward we need a coordinated approach to the Department of Homeland Security by ourselves and the government of Canada," said David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer. "We feel our chances of success are increased if we can speak with one Canadian voice.”

Of immediate concern to CTA is the ability of Canadians to comply with new US hazardous materials requirements, and to obtain a US transportation worker identity card. Unlike hazmat drivers in the US, Canadian drivers are not required to have a hazmat endorsement on their commercial driver licenses. In addition, there is no regulatory or legislative mechanism for Canadian truck drivers to apply for a transportation worker card that will be required in the US for entrance into transportation facilities.

Meetings on security issues are expected to take place over the next several weeks between John Manley, Canadian deputy prime minister, and Tom Ridge, US Department of Homeland Security secretary, as well as other US and Canadian officials involved in border crossings.

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