Canada-U.S. Border Closure Likely To Be Extended: Reports

Last Updated on September 17, 2020

The closure of the Canada-U.S. border in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus is set to be extended, it has been widely reported.

Currently, the closure expires on September 21, with another month’s extension set to take the deadline to October 21.

The extra month would mean the world’s longest land border will have been closed to non-essential travel for seven months.

Coronavirus cases remain on the rise in several U.S. states, while Canadian provinces are also seeing worrying increases in case numbers.

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

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The border is closed for non-essential travel. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has offered guidance on what constitutes essential and non-essential travel.

Reasons considered ‘non-essential’ include:

  • To visit family for a vacation.
  • For the birth of a grandchild, nephew, niece, cousin, etc. (For the parent of a child, this may be considered non-discretionary travel; however, it will still require assessment.)
  • To spend time at a secondary residence (vacation home, hunting or fishing lodge, etc.). This includes entry for upkeep or maintenance purposes.
  • To attend the funeral of a family member (This purpose of travel would be improbable due to quarantine measures and limits to the number of attendees at funerals under provincial restrictions.)

Reasons considered ‘essential’ include travel for:

  • Economic services and supply chains.
  • Critical infrastructure support.
  • Health (immediate medical care), safety and security.
  • Supporting Indigenous communities.
  • Transiting through Canada for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes.
  • Studying in Canada if already approved for a study permit on or before March 18.
  • Tending to family matters for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes (such as bringing supplies to elderly parents or tending to sick family members) when there is no one else available in Canada to assist.
  • Any other activities that are deemed non-optional or non-discretionary by the Government of Canada or based on an officer’s assessment.

14-Day Self-Quarantine Plan

Regardless of the reason for travel or exemption, any traveller with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Furthermore, anyone entering Canada from the US or any other country will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon entry.

Travellers are also required to present a quarantine plan, with details of where they will stay, how they will get groceries and medication and whether they will be staying with vulnerable people.

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