Canada to Reopen Border with US to Fully Vaccinated Travelers
By Craig McCulloch
July 20, 2021 09:09 PM
FILE - Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to 'non-essential traffic', US-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge in Lansdowne, Canada, March 19, 2020.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Canadian officials announced that fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents can enter Canada for what is being called “discretionary travel” beginning August 9.
Those wanting to cross the 8,891-kilometer border by land or air into Canada will have to arrive asymptomatic and provide proof of full vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival.
The required documentation must be uploaded to the ArriveCAN app ahead of the trip, and travelers will need to have the paper version physically available.
Canada’s easing of entry restrictions will extend to travelers from all other countries starting September 7, with identical requirements.
The U.S.-Canada border has been closed to nonessential travel since March of last year. Canadians, however, have been able to fly into the United States with only a negative COVID-19 test.
Laurie Trautman, Director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University in Bellingham. (Photo courtesy of Laurie Trautman)
Laurie Trautman, director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University in Bellingham, is not surprised by Ottawa’s decision.
“I think that is a natural next step to allow Americans coming from the United States to Canada who are fully vaccinated for any trip purpose to be exempt," Trautman said.
"So I'm glad to see there's a date. I'm glad to see there's a plan.”
For Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, the announcement is good for commerce — and people’s outlook on both sides of the border.
Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada
“When you think about it, what we have been through as human beings over the last 16-17 months or so is not natural, and what's natural for people is to interact with each other," Hyder said.
"To celebrate events, to mourn events, to, you know, meet our customers, to take vacations — all of these things are part of being a human being. And those are the things that we sacrificed for the last 16-17 months.”
Perrin Beatty, the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the reopening, particularly for the tourism sector and other businesses that rely on cross-border travel with the United States.
Perrin Beatty, the President and CEO of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce
One concern he has going forward is potential delays at the border for checking health documents.
“And the government is going to need to look for ways of speeding that up," Beatty said. "Otherwise, we'll have massive traffic jams with people trying to cross the border at peak times. And that's why it's so important for us to have digital secure vaccination certification.”
Beatty also said the Canadian government should eliminate the requirement to have a negative COVID-19 test.
In making the announcements at a virtual press conference, Canadian Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair said he talked with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about the changes.
Blair said the current restrictions that expire on the 21st of July are expected to continue for travelers going by land into the United States.
Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of Public Safety (Courtesy: Government of Canada)
“They are obviously considering additional measures and data," Blair said. "But at the present time, they have not indicated a plan to make any changes in their current border restrictions that are in place.”
Residents of the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon will also be allowed into Canada for nonessential travel on Aug. 9.
Earlier, the Canadian government shortened the ban on cruise ships docking in the country to Nov. 1, four months earlier than it originally planned.
The Canada Border Services Agency staffs 117 legal crossing points along the Canada-U.S. border and 13 international airports.
non-essential (adj) =not absolutely necessary
discretionary (adj) =left to individual choice or judgment
asymptomatic (adj) =not causing or presenting with signs or symptoms of infection, illness, or disease
ease (verb) =to become less intense, vigorous, or engaged : become moderate —usually used with up or off
interact (verb) =to talk or do things with other people
1. What happens on August 9?
2. What measures are the Canadian government implementing for American citizens and permanent residents wanting to cross into Canada? What do you think of it? Does it seem reasonable?
3. What about travelers from other countries?
4. What is the regulation for Canadians entering the US?
5. Why do you think Laurie Trautman is glad about this announcement?
6. Why did Goldy Hyder think of this move as "natural"?
7. What is Perrin Beatty's concern about this new direction of allowing travelers into Canada?
8. What did Bill Blair mean by "they have not indicated a pland to make any changes in their border restrictions...?"