Canada and US businesses call for modernization of NAFTA border rules for business travelers


Canada and U.S. businesses call for modernization of NAFTA border rules for business travelers

Toronto – Washington, August 16, 2017: As talks get underway in Washington to renegotiate the North American Free Trade agreement, the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) and U.S. based Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), are calling for improvements in border processes and a modernization of the rules for professionals and business travelers that cross the Canada U.S. border for employment.

According to Lynn Shotwell, “Timely, predictable and flexible labor mobility is critical to employers’ ability to meet their business objectives. NAFTA renegotiation provides an opportunity to make border crossings more efficient.”

A recent survey of their respective members, many of whom represent some of North America’s largest employers, uncovered some of the key obstacles that cause untold delays at border crossings leading to lost productivity in both countries. More than 400,000 people cross the border every day. 

More than half of the employers surveyed (53%) reported that their employees have experienced delays unrelated to travel volumes when crossing into Canada and 61% reported delays when crossing into the U.S. Inconsistent decision making by border officials was identified as the most common reason for delays crossing the border, with 76% of employers citing this for employees entering the U.S. and 67% citing this for employees entering Canada.

“Restrictions and delays with the movement of skilled workers, significantly hinder trade and business growth. With an integrated supply chain, across virtually all sectors of the economy, the movement of highly skilled workers is critical” said Stephen Cryne, President and CEO of CERC. 

Employers also feel that border officials lacked sufficient training and resources to effectively and expeditiously adjudicate applications for entry: 58% of employers reported this with U.S. border officials and 46% reported this with Canadian border officials.

Most of the employers surveyed felt that the current NAFTA Professionals list, which is intended to facilitate the movement of skilled workers, is outdated for their workforce needs. That list, compiled over 20 years ago, has only been updated on two occasions. CERC and CFGI are calling for a major overhaul to bring the list up to date, and for a formal mechanism to regularly review and update the list with input from industry.  

The Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the mobility and deployment of human capital, which are vitally important to Canada’s future prosperity. Established in 1982, CERC represents the interests of its members on workforce mobility matters. Many of CERC’s members are listed in Canada’s Financial Post Top 500.

The Council for Global Immigration (formerly known as the American Council on International Personnel), an affiliate of SHRM, is comprised of leading multinational corporations, universities, and research institutions committed to advancing the employment-based immigration of highly educated professionals. The Council bridges the public and private sectors to promote sensible, forward-thinking policies that fuel innovation and foster global talent mobility.

To arrange an interview with Stephen Cryne, please contact Catherine O’Neill at 416 593 9812, or via email

To arrange an interview with Lynn Shotwell, please contact John Bray at 202 822 9491, or via email