The Government of Canada strongly encouraged the United States to ensure that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was implemented with minimal impact on travel and trade at the border and without compromising local communities and the two countries' economic prosperity.
The Government of Canada urged the U.S. government to take advantage of the time granted by the U.S. Congress, which had established land and water implementation dates of June 1, 2009. The time enabled the two governments to continue to collaborate closely on implementing the U.S. WHTI for land and water travel in a way that addressed security while facilitating the flow of legitimate travellers and goods across the shared border.
A working group headed by senior officials of the Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directed the work of Canadian and U.S. government representatives, Canada continues to work with the United States to ensure that the WHTI increases security at the border without compromising the flow of legitimate trade and travel.
On account of the Government of Canada's efforts, the United States has accepted, in principle, enhanced identification cards/enhanced driver's licences as alternative documents to present instead of a passport when entering the United States by land and water.
And, through the efforts of the Government of Canada, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now in the process of designating the new Secure Certificate of Indian Status as an acceptable document to present when entering the United States by land or water.
The Government of Canada's efforts also resulted in Canadian citizens 15 years of age and under being allowed to present only proof of Canadian citizenship, such as an original or a photocopy of a birth certificate or an original citizenship card, to enter the United States by land and water. Travellers 18 years of age and under in approved adult-supervised groups are also permitted to present only proof of Canadian citizenship.