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Whatever Happened to CANPASS?
By Ian Brown, Editor, EAA 657159
March 2021 – If you've flown a private aircraft across the border, you're likely to be familiar with the terms CANPASS and Nexus. In fact you may have subscribed to both, as I have. CANPASS Air (for passengers on commercial aircraft) and CANPASS Private Boat programs have both been discontinued, but not CANPASS Private Aircraft.
It turns out that both Nexus and CANPASS are presently suspended and have been since the onset of the pandemic. I called to find out whether Nexus can be used like CANPASS to arrive at an airport of entry (AOE) that does not have customs. The reason for this is that it can save money for avgas, and time, if you can fly directly to an AOE without having to clear customs at an airport with full-time customs agents in attendance. The answer I was given is that they are different programs so the details of each are different. For example, apparently up to four passengers on a corporate private aircraft can arrive on one CANPASS call. CANPASS is ONLY for arrivals into Canada by private and corporate aircraft, not commercial aircraft or boats (previously allowed), and it cannot be used for arrival into the U.S.
The CBSA person I spoke to suggested I advise caution. Both Nexus and CANPASS are currently suspended, but they may see some changes when the border opens. When I asked if it was worthwhile renewing both CANPASS and Nexus, I was told that there may be some benefit to holding on to both since CANPASS may provide some benefits over Nexus for arriving private aircraft, especially at AOEs that have no customs presence. CANPASS is not expensive at $40 for five years.
Since both CANPASS and Nexus are likely to see some changes, I'd suggest holding off on any renewals until the dust settles on this pandemic.
This is from the CANPASS website:
"Private aircraft that meet the requirements of the CANPASS–Private Aircraft program can land at any airport of entry any time the site is open, regardless of the hours of operation of the local CBSA office. The aircraft can also land at a designated CANPASS-only airport.
"The pilot is in charge of the aircraft and he or she must report all passengers and their goods on behalf of the aircraft. Pilots are responsible for reporting themselves, their crew and passengers to a telephone reporting centre (TRC) by calling 1-888-CANPASS (1-888-226-7277) at least 2 hours before but no more than 48 hours prior to the aircraft's estimated time of arrival in Canada.
"The Telephone Reporting Center allows individuals who enter Canada by private aircraft or corporate aircraft to report their arrival and make their declarations to the CBSA by telephone."