As of February 1, Canadians and Americans who have been visiting Canada will face enhanced identification requirements at land crossings. That is what Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Toronto Globe and Mail reporter on January 18. Anyone over 19 crossing the border by land will need a document with a photo such as a driver's license and proof of citizenship. People registered in pre-approved border crossing arrangements will not be affected by the new rules.
Chertoff says that the new requirements will make the U.S. safer. Currently, he said that "significant numbers of people" are refused entry at Canadian land crossings because their names are on a watch list. It is not clear that the new requirements will have any impact on the rate of refusals.
He acknowledged that the requirements would not stop a terrorist who had acquired Canadian documents. Equally, it would not stop one with U.S. identity documents.
While Chertoff denies that the new regulations will have any effect on trade, others are not so sure. The Travel Industry Association in Canada complains that there has not been sufficient publicity given the new regulations, especially since Congress just recently postponed implementation till summer, 2009, of the passport requirement for entry into the U.S.