In December of 2011, the Prime Minister of Canada and President of the USA made a joint announcement regarding plans to implement a cooperative effort to improve security and efficiency at the ports of entry (including border crossings and airports) between the two countries. The effort has numerous facets, which may see RCMP and US police officials obtain jurisdiction on either side of the border, improved airport security, sharing of infrastructure between certain border crossings, harmonization of rules, sharing of information, and more.
The prospect of sharing of information has certain advantages and disadvantages to holders of Canadian work permits. A principal goal of the effort would be to have better information on the movement of temporary residents relative to their permission to stay in Canada. For example, there would be more knowledge of whether or not a given individual respected the conditions of a temporary stay in Canada, leaving or otherwise renewing status within the time permitted. If implemented, an individual who overstays could face negative consequences in the case of any future effort to seek admission to Canada.
In certain cases, work permit holders are constrained by time limitations associated with the issuance of a Canadian work visa. For example, intra-company transferees may be permitted stays of between five and seven years, but such time is assessed only against the duration of time actually spent in Canada. In such a case, better exit controls may serve the purpose of facilitating demonstration of the duration of the actual stay of such a work permit holder, permitting the maximum actual duration of validity of the immigration document.
It is not yet clear how or if this effort will be implemented. There are also differing accounts of the extent and purpose of information sharing. However, this could be a very important development for the two countries.