Last Updated on October 19, 2020

Canada has confirmed its border with the U.S. will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least November 21 as the battle to contain the spread of coronavirus continues. 

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair made the announcement in a tweet on Monday, October 19. The closure had been due to expire on October 21, with the extension widely expected.

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until November 21st, 2020,” Blair tweeted. 

“Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

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The latest extension means the world’s longest land border is to be closed for at least eight months.

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in several U.S. states, while Canada is battling a second wave of the pandemic in several provinces.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that as long as cases remain high in the U.S., the border would remain closed.

“We have committed to keeping Canadians safe and we keep extending the border closures because the States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” the prime minister said in a radio interview in Winnipeg.

“We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to all non-essential traffic since March 21, with the government on both sides of the divide renewing the closure on a monthly basis.

Canada also has in place restrictions on international travel to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Canada immigration numbers dropped again in August, as the recovery seen in the aftermath of the first wave of coronavirus stuttered for a second consecutive month.

The latest federal government figures showed 11,315 new permanent residents were admitted in August, down from 13,675 in September, a drop of more than 17 percent.

The figure is also significantly down on August 2019, when 31,585 permanent resident admissions were recorded.

After eight months of 2019, Canada had welcomed 228,430 new immigrants, compared to just over 128,000 this year. It means Canada is 100,000 newcomers behind this time last year, and highly unlikely to meet its pre-coronavirus target of 341,000 new permanent residents.

New ‘arrivals’ can either be candidates already in Canada transitioning from a temporary status, or those from overseas who were approved before March 18.

Permament Resident Admissions to Canada

The restrictions bar entry to all except citizens and permanent residents, with some exemptions.

Canada currently has exemptions in place for the following people, provided they are travelling for a non-discretionary reason.

  • Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
  • International students who held a valid study permit, or had been approved for a study permit, when the travel restrictions took effect on March 18, 2020. More international students will be allowed to travel from October 20 under a new exemption.
  • Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
  • Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are also exempt if entering to be with an immediate family member for at least 15 days.
  • Extended family members of citizens and permanent residents, plus foreign nationals travelling on compassionate grounds.

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