OTTAWA - The federal government says the Nexus trusted-traveller program will fully ramp back up within five weeks, allowing frequent border crossers to complete their applications and speed up their trips.
Registering 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, among other legal protections.
The standoff led to a massive backlog in applications for the program, which allows pre-approved travellers to cross the border more quickly.
A compromise announced at a summit in January that Canadian border agents will now interview Nexus applicants separately from U.S. agents at eight Canadian airports, rather than together like 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, followed by a staggered reopening at the six other airports where customs preclearance 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 shrunk by about 100,000 by late January.