Nexus trusted-traveller program to resume applications in Winnipeg March 27 after year-long standoff

The federal government says the Nexus trusted-traveller program will ramp back up fully within five weeks, allowing frequent border-crossers to complete their applications and speed up their trips.

Registration for the program has been halted in Canada for nearly a year after Nexus enrolment centres unlocked their doors in the United States, due in part to a clash over U.S. agents’ right to carry guns on Canadian soil.

The standoff led to a massive backlog in applications for the program, which allows pre-approved travellers to cross the border more quickly.

Thanks to a compromise announced at a summit in January, Canadian border agents will now interview Nexus applicants separately from U.S. agents at eight Canadian airports, rather than together as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canada Border Services Agency says enrolment centres will reopen for applicant sit-downs at the Halifax and Winnipeg airports on March 27. They’ll be followed by a staggered reopening at the six other airports where customs pre-clearance is an option, including the final two in Toronto and Ottawa on April 24.

The agency said in July the number of Nexus applications had ballooned by 21 per cent in just three months to nearly 342,000, though Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the backlog had dropped by about 100,000 by late January.

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