I will share it with someone else then.
I want to welcome everyone back from a busy summer break. I look forward to sitting in the House this fall, as we will debate some very important issues in this session. First, my condolences to the family and my colleagues across for the loss of our brother from Scarborough—Agincourt.
As my friend said earlier, on February 4, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama agreed on a beyond the border declaration, establishing a new long-term partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic competitiveness in both countries. The associated action plan outlined a range of initiatives. It also called for Canada and the United States to generate a joint beyond the border implementation, annually, for a three year period. This declaration has deepened co-operation at the border between Canada and the United States.
Under the declaration, we have seen a number of accomplishments and benefits from it. We exchange best practices. We have successfully launched an automated biometric-based system to counter identity fraud. We signed a historic agreement on land, rail, marine, and air transport pre-clearances. Also, as of 2015, we know we have had millions of people apply for NEXUS memberships to ease their transitions.
On March 10, 2016, our current Prime Minister and former President Barack Obama reaffirmed the commitment. I am pleased to see the Liberals embracing the work done by our former Conservative government. I thank them. Before the agreement, Canadian and American border agencies only collected information on people entering the respective country. This meant that they did not have a clear record of when people exited. After the agreement was made in 2011, and as part of a pilot program, both countries began to share entry information on third country nationals so that the record of a land entry into one country could be used to establish an exit record from the other. As a former law enforcement officer, I know this is very beneficial to the safety of Canadians. The bill would expand the initiative from third country nationals to all travellers at air and land ports of entry.
The relationship between Canada and the United States goes way back. Since the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement came into force in 1989, Canada's two-way trade in goods and services with the United States has more than tripled. We share the world's longest undefended border, and we have the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. Every day, there is approximately 400,000 people and close to $2 billion in trade travel between our two countries, by land, air, and sea. This is why it is important to keep the flow of legitimate trade and travel while ensuring the security and integrity of our borders.
While the bill amends the Customs Act, its implications have nothing to do with the collection of duties on imports. Rather, it strengthens the security of our borders and develops further co-operation between Canadian and American border agencies. Bill C-21 creates new legislation for exports in order to target smuggling. It adds a new export smuggling offence in section 159 of the Customs Act. It also expands the detention powers of border officers to detain goods that are being exported. Proposed section 97.25 would be amended to permit Canada Border Service Agency officials to detain any goods being exported that have been reported under section 95. These provisions would help combat smuggling, keep illegal exports from leaving the country, and enable the prosecution of smugglers.
As previously discussed, Bill C-21 would also enable the collection and sharing of biometric data on all persons as they enter and exit Canada. The new section 92 is added to the Customs Act to replace the old section 92, which was repealed in 1995. This new section would allow the collection of travellers' personal information, such as names, birth dates, and travel document numbers, and allow that information to be shared with American counterparts in accordance with an information sharing agreement between the two border agencies.
In regard to any concerns about protecting the privacy of personal information, it should be restated that this is already being done for third country nationals travelling across the border. According to the Canada Border Services Agency website, both countries securely share entry records of approximately 16,000 to 19,000 travellers daily with no impact on the traveller experience.
Strict safeguards and agreements will also be in place to protect Canadians' personal information once it is gathered and shared under this legislation. The information collected and the entry-exit initiative will be incredibly useful not just for security purposes, but also to protect Canada's social programs to ensure that foreign travellers with extended stays in Canada pay the appropriate income tax if they are here long enough. For example, individuals who are in Canada for more than the legislated period of time are required to pay income tax. Since the CBSA will have both entry and exit data, the government will be able to calculate the number of days the individual was in Canada and whether they have to pay taxes.
Bill C-21 will not change any tax rules. Rather, it will ensure that all individuals who owe income tax pay it. Additionally, Canadians travelling abroad should be aware of the number of days they spend away from home. Under this legislation, biometric data can be shared with Employment and Social Development Canada for the purposes of administering or enforcing the Employment Insurance Act or the Old Age Security Act. The information collected will allow Employment and Social Development Canada to track Canadians' time spent outside the country to ensure their compliance with Canadian laws. For example, my home province of Alberta requires at least five months of residency in the province for someone to continue their health insurance coverage. Failure to comply means that an individual risks losing their access to health insurance. Again, Bill C-21 is not changing social program rules; rather, it helps to ensure compliance with laws that are already established.
Bill C-21 will also help to further combat identity fraud. As I previously mentioned, the new section will allow the collection of travellers' personal information, including the type of travel document that identifies the person, the name of the country or organization that issued the travel document, and the travel document number. By collecting, sharing, and verifying this information, border agents will be able to identify fraudulent documents and people trying to enter the country under a false name. This is not only important to protect against identity fraud, but also to protect our security and ensure that we know exactly who is entering our country.
In summary, I believe that Bill C-21 is a positive step in the right direction. It builds on Canada's long and historic partnership with the United States. It promotes the beyond the border declaration established with the United States by our previous Conservative government. Bill C-21 furthers the security of our borders and also safeguards our social programs. I want to thank the minister for tabling this piece of legislation and furthering the work of the previous Conservative government. I look forward to supporting Bill C-21.