The Canadian border (land and air) will remain closed to non-essential travel for yet another month, extending the current measures through at least April 21, 2021.
Most foreign visitors are still not allowed to enter Canada and a 14-day quarantine requirement is imposed for those that do, including Canadian citizens.
The restrictions on travel between Canada and the United States is now stretching into a full year just like we’ve seen with many other international borders but this one hits especially hard given the close ties between the countries and that for a very long time you were even able to cross between Canada and the U.S. using a drivers license (abandoned after 9/11).
Canadians can travel to the U.S. for both business and leisure but Canada is closed to U.S. citizens except for certain circumstances like driving by car up to Alaska.
There have already been several decisions that severely impacted travel between Canada, Alaska and “the lower 48” especially when it came to cruise travel with British Columbia shutting down all their ports since spring of 2020, essentially killing the Alaska cruise season with huge economic consequences for both B.C. and the Alaska coastal towns. The cruise ban has since been extended to February 28, 2022.
Public Safety Canada has sent out a Tweet about the border closure extension and it has also been updated on the CBSA website.
To help reduce the spread of #COVID19, the current restrictions for all non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. remain in effect until April 21, 2021. For more information on current entry requirements ➡️ https://t.co/wRZPE8h9O6 pic.twitter.com/AC3hNQ7wtq
— Public Safety Canada (@Safety_Canada) March 18, 2021
You can access the CBSA website here for all recent updated on entry requirements and regulations for Canada.
The current agreement on the U.S.-Canada border closure to non-essential travel was first put in place back in March of 2020 and has been renewed every month since (salami slicing). It’s a full year of monthly extensions now.
Tourists and leisure cross-border visits remain prohibited, although trade and commerce are exempted as are certain family members and loved ones who can make a case on compassionate grounds to be allowed into Canada.
One has to wonder how often this extension will be renewed in the future and if there will be an opening of the country to overseas visitors from countries again that are deemed somewhat “safe” by Canadian authorities, be it with a Covid test, a vaccine certificate or a combination of both.
As referenced above Canada now does have some rather generous exceptions in place that allows a flow of family members and employees to go into Canada. Canadians can also visit the U.S. but have to isolate upon return in an expensive quarantine hotel so the question is if that trip is worth the hassle.
The common sentiment among Canadians is that the border should remain closed due to the escalating situation concerning Covid-19 in the lower 48 yet this constant salami tactic extension on a monthly basis isn’t really a workable solution either. Make it 3 months at a time and be done with it.
As things look like now the vaccination effort is going a lot better and faster in the U.S. than in Canada at the moment. The outlook is that by the summer everyone in the U.S. will have been offered a vaccine. It remains to be seen if this will have any impact on the border up north and I wonder if Canada will have accomplished the same by then.