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Canada-U.S. land border closure extended into June

Last Updated May 20, 2021 at 7:30 pm EDT

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Summary

Canada-U.S. border crossings have been shut to most non-essential traffic for more than a year


Public safety minister says decisions continue to be based on best public health advice available


The Canada-U.S. land border will continue to be closed to non-essential traffic until at least June 21


OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – As expected, the Canada-U.S. land border will continue to remain closed for at least another month, until June 21.

Border crossings have been shut to most non-essential traffic for over a year. Measures were first brought in March 2020 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the first wave.

“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from #COVID19,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that we need more than 75 per cent of eligible Canadians to have received at least a first dose of the vaccine, and cases need to be brought under control before “we get back to normal.”

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that preliminary talks had begun within the federal government about reopening the land border.

Citing multiple sources, Bloomberg said one proposal being considered was whether to implement a “two-track system” allowing for eased quarantine and testing measures for vaccinated travellers.

These reports come as both Canada and the U.S. continue their vaccination campaigns. On Thursday, May 20, Canada is set to surpass the U.S. for the number of people who’ve received at least a first dose.

This country is expected to have vaccinated 49 per cent of eligible Canadians by the end of the day, while the U.S. has vaccinated 48 per cent.


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Meanwhile, communities along the border have been eager for crossings to reopen.

On the west coast, Port Roberts, a U.S. enclave off the south-west point of B.C.’s Lower Mainland, has proposed its crossing to be a first port of entry for Canadians as part of a pilot project.

Point Roberts relies heavily on cross-border travel, with the majority of its real estate owned by Canadians. The town is home to less than 1,000 residents,  80 per cent of whom are vaccinated.

-With files from Lucas Casaletto and Yasmin Gandham