Toronto, Ont November 13, 2015 This week I’ve been in Toronto where I live and in Vancouver and Calgary to facilitate the CIFFA eManifest Town hall events. Thousands of people everywhere I’ve been, on every street, on every flight, in every meeting proudly wear the red poppy in remembrance of those who have served to protect our democracy. And I reflect on the nature of that democracy. We have just had a federal election which resulted in a change in our federal government. One leader out and another leader in. One party out and another party in. One cabinet out and another cabinet in. No fuss. No muss. No danger to any citizen of any party. What a wonderful thing.
Sure, some things will change. Some of us wonder if the major programs we’ve been working on will continue to receive the funding and agency resources that were mandated by the previous government. I expect that they will. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will continue to work on the transformational modernization initiative it has undertaken for commercial goods and in which it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars. Let’s not kid ourselves. The changes coming with eManifest and the new eHBL, with sufferance warehouse modernization and with cargo and release will cause transformational change in how we conduct our business. Certainly the two hundred people who attended the eManifest: Strategies for Success Town Hall sessions across the country in the past few weeks have begun to realize just how significant the changes will be. eManifest dates have slipped once, but we have been assured by the CBSA that when the new ‘mandatory’ date – or coming into force date - for eHBL is announced, it will be firm. The CBSA has worked with CIFFA and the freight forwarders in BCCC meetings, in bi-lateral meetings, in telephone and web based consultations to develop and deliver this new way of doing business.
Sure, we expect the implementation period to be challenging. (OK, the transition will probably be brutal). Every time we bring industry and Agency together – such as at our most recent events, we hear of a new scenario, a new challenge, a new ‘how will this work’ that we haven’t worked through yet. This week’s events were no exception. The brilliance of our country, the brilliance of our democracy is that the CBSA is in the room with us – explaining the regulations, trying to understand our business and working with us to figure out how to deliver the modernization that we need.
And so I remember those that fought for our country and our democracy 100 years ago, 60 years ago and last week.