VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – We’ve seen record levels of Canadian shoppers heading south to snap up bargains in the States, but one report shows the long border line-ups are costing us a lot of money.

The study by the Fraser Institute shows that increased security and therefore longer waits at the border are costing taxpayers over $19-billion a year in lost trade and tourism.

SFU political scientist and study co-author Alexander Moens says that figure doesn’t include many hidden costs.

“For example, decisions by companies not to bother investing in Canada because it’s too slow or too costly to cross the border. So you have to think of the $19-billion at the low end of the real cost. The real cost could be much higher,” believes Moens.

He says they looked at several factors over the last year, including the drop in the US economy and the rise of our dollar.

“But if you take those two factors into account, the border still has a high-cost effect on Americans travelling north [to Canada] and on Canadian and American commerce flowing two ways.”

Moens says the Canadian and American governments need to find a better way to co-ordinate the stricter border policies put in place following the 9-11 terror attacks, adding intangibles like American businesses re-locating here have also been affected by the security delays.

According to Stats Canada, American overnight trips to Canada have dropped 23 per cent over the last decade.