Québec City, December 4, 2007 – Québec and Vermont have agreed to cooperate in seeking an alternative to the passport under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Both jurisdictions will work together, and with their federal governments, to provide enhanced driver’s licences, by the end of 2008, which would be used instead of a passport when entering the United States. Use of the enhanced driver’s license would be voluntary.
“The enhanced driver’s licence will allow us to provide security at the border and ease of entry,” said Vermont Governor James Douglas.
Québec Premier Jean Charest stated that “this is the most promising option since many citizens already possess a driver’s licence.”
Both Governor Douglas and Premier Charest agreed that while a secure border is important, new border measures must not threaten the prosperity of the two partners, negatively impact border communities or be a barrier to trade or tourism.
Québec and Vermont will focus in particular on best practices to implement their respective enhanced driver’s licence programs. Under WHTI, Americans and Canadians must have a passport or other officially recognized document to enter the United States. A passport is currently required for air travel to the United States but could also be required to enter the United States by land and sea in summer 2008.
Premier Charest and Governor Douglas also took stock of progress in the implementation of the multisectoral Cooperation Agreement signed in December 2003. That agreement targets closer cooperation between Québec and Vermont in several areas, including the clean-up and protection of cross-border waterways, improvements to highway networks, and regional solutions to climate change.
In addition to being co-signatories of a bilateral agreement, Vermont and Québec are major allies in the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (CNEG/ECP) on regional issues such as the WHTI, energy and the environment.
Online as of: December 4, 2007