Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended another month to June 21

OTTAWA — CTV News has learned that the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel for at least another month, just days before the current agreement was set to expire.

Non-essential travel restrictions have been in place between the two countries since March 21, 2020. The provision exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that lifting social restrictions more generally will be dependent on vaccination rates and consistently low community transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

“We’re all eager to get back to normal, but we know that before we get back to normal cases need to be under control and over 75 per cent of people need to be vaccinated for us to start loosening things in Canada,” he said.

“We’ll see what framework we apply to ensure that we’re keeping Canadians safe.”

According to CTV News’ Vaccine Tracker, Canada has vaccinated 46.05 per cent of its population with a first dose and just 3.77 per cent have received two doses. Meanwhile, the U.S. has vaccinated 47.19 per cent of its population with a first dose, and 37.03 per cent have received both shots.

James Cudmore, director of communications for the minister of public safety, did not confirm the extension to CTVNews.ca but said that talks are ongoing with their American counterparts on issues relating to the shared border, but tempered expectations about the timing of an official reopening.

“Minister Blair is in regular contact with his American counterparts about issues relating to our shared border. Until the conditions on both sides of the border change very substantively, the measures at our borders will remain intact,” he said in an email Monday.

The Ontario government has been vocal in their desire for the federal government to tighten restrictions at the Canada, U.S. land border, citing increased COVID-19 variant spread.

 

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc has maintained that Ottawa is keen to support the provinces with their individual public health needs.

 

“We always welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can work together. We have provided Ontario with extra polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capabilities through the Safe Restart Agreement. Ontario is also within their jurisdiction to institute domestic travel quarantine. As we have seen in other jurisdictions, it is an effective public health measure. We continue to stand ready to support the Government of Ontario should they introduce additional measures within their jurisdiction,” said LeBlanc in statement released Tuesday.

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