(March 1, 2013) -- Today at 12 pm EST massive budget
cuts in the U.S. – known as sequestration – were scheduled
to become official. This does not mean the budget cuts take immediate
effect. The Office of Management and Budget must still send to Congress
a detailed accounting of the cuts – how much from which agencies
and which accounts. CTA has been informed by sources at various ports
that the cuts won’t kick-in for at least 30 days due to labour
negotiations with federal workers. In fact, President Obama told media
today that the cuts are “not a cliff, but it is a tumble
Although not official, Secretary of Homeland Security
Janet Napolitano on February 14th stated that Customs and Border
Protection would be facing more than half a billion dollars in cuts, and
as a consequence CBP would not be able to maintain current staffing
levels of border patrol agents and CBP officers as mandated by Congress.
Sequestration would force CBP to immediately begin furloughs of its
employees, reduce overtime for frontline operations, and decrease its
hiring to backfill positions. Specifically, beginning April 1, CBP would
have to reduce its work hours by the equivalent of over 5,000 Border
Patrol agents and the equivalent of over 2,750 CBP officers.
As CTA reported in its news
release February 27, 2013 the Canadian trucking industry could
be sideswiped as sequestration would severely impact border operations
in the form of significant border delays.
The question remains, though, when will the cuts
actually be felt by industry, where, and to what degree? What we do know
is that border officers probably won’t suddenly vanish over the
next few days, but whether ports remain fully operational during the
entire month of March remains a question. CTA and the provincial
trucking associations will be working with local ports to monitor the
situation. CTA and the provincial associations will distribute updates
to member carriers as we learn them and encourage the carrier community
to contact their local association and CTA if there are extensive delays
at the various border crossings.