Canadian and U.S. Officials Discuss “Beyond the Border” Initiative

On Wednesday, May 8, the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Executive Steering Committee (ESC) met in Washington, D.C. to discuss progress to date and the way forward for implementing the December 2011 Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan. The Action Plan identified an initial set of activities to advance the Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness articulated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama in February 2011. The Action Plan seeks to deepen the Canada – U.S. relationship by enhancing our mutual security, prosperity and economic competitiveness while respecting each others’ sovereignty and privacy regimes.

This was the second annual meeting of the ESC. It included high-level participation from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection, US Trade Representative, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce and their Canadian counterparts in Public Safety Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Transport Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, led by Canada’s Privy Council Office. 

In addition to reviewing updates on completed, in-progress, and upcoming deliverables, the ESC emphasized the importance of the joint  Statement of Privacy Principles in informing and guiding all information and intelligence sharing under the Beyond the Border Action Plan, discussed additional opportunities for outreach and agreed on the approach to preparing the 2013 Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan Implementation Report as well as the main elements to be addressed in this year's Report. 

For more information about the Beyond the Border initiative, visit : or


Patricia F.S. Cogswell is the Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and the Senior Director for Transborder Security on the National Security Staff