Cross-border travelers and commercial vehicles are facing added scrutiny when leaving Canada bound for the United States.
The Canada Border Services Agency, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Monday began random checks of outbound traffic at the Peace, Rainbow and Lewiston-Queenston bridges, as well as two bridge crossings between the United States and Quebec.
"We're doing this in cooperation with Homeland Security," said Jean D'Amelio Swyer, spokeswoman for Canada Border Services. "Obviously, there must be some information the two agencies have shared that warrants this action at this time."
Checks of commercial vehicles are running the gamut from quick reviews of load manifests and driver identification, to more thorough screenings of truck cabs and trailer contents.
Passenger vehicles are also seeing a range of exit inspections, ranging from visual inspection of occupants as the vehicle passes through the temporary checkpoint, to complete review of vehicle contents and passenger identification.
The random outbound inspections, which have been conducted by both the U.S. and Canada on previous occasions in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, will continue until further notice.
Cross-border travelers can plan ahead by checking the Canada Border Services Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca. The site provides detailed information on all U.S.-Canadian crossings, with real-time wait information for both passenger and commercial traffic.
Up-to-date bridge crossing information can also be obtained via the Homeland Security Web site at http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/ or by calling (800) 715-6722.