Canada to Start Easing Restrictions at U.S. Border June 22

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s government has signaled it could start easing Covid-19 restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border on June 22 if the country’s vaccination campaign stays on its current trajectory, the mayors of Canadian border cities say as quoted by Politico.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who is Trudeau’s cabinet minister responsible for the border, announced that during a recent virtual meeting of border mayors from the province.

“He didn’t put it in stone but he suggested that [June 22] is the date they’re looking at. We’re hoping to get some more confirmation this week,” Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, said Monday of the May 28 meeting with Blair.

Trudeau offered new details earlier Monday about Canada’s thoughts about the border.

“We are looking at how we’re going to start welcoming up tourists in a phased way as the numbers come down in Canada, as the numbers start to come down in the United States and elsewhere around the world,” Trudeau told a virtual event hosted by the St. John’s Board of Trade.

According to him, Canada needs to make sure travelers are fully vaccinated before they enter the country, noting concerns around the variants that are still creating challenges.

“We don’t want to risk further outbreaks — a fourth wave would be devastating, not just to the economy but to morale.”

He reiterated his stance that at least 75 percent of Canada’s population should have at least one dose of Covid vaccine and 20 percent should be fully vaccinated before the public health restrictions – including on the border – can be eased. As of May 29, more than 68 percent of Canadian adults had received at least one dose, while more than 7 percent were fully vaccinated.

Land crossings on Canada-U.S. borders were closed in March 2020 to nonessential travel to slow Covid-19’s spread and the countries have implemented border measures keeping them in place by renewing a bilateral, month-to-month arrangement. The next agreement expires June 21.

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