|The federal government will extend the Canada-U.S. land border closure for another 30 days until Sept. 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said today. The closure to non-essential travel has been in place for months, but with caseloads still high in many U.S. states, the two governments have mutually agreed to continue restricting movement across the world’s longest international border.
The closure has resulted in a dramatic drop in traffic between the two countries although essential workers — like truck drivers and health-care professionals — are still able to cross by land despite the restrictions. Canadians are still able to fly to U.S. destinations. The federal government has also moved to curb the movement of Americans through Canada who are ostensibly on their way to Alaska. U.S. travellers destined for the northern state have been limited to five crossings in Western Canada and they must commit to taking a direct route.
Brian Higgins, a Democratic congressman for the New York district that includes Buffalo and the Niagara area, said he was disappointed but not surprised that the border closure was extended. “I have been working with Canadian officials at the federal level for several months toward the goal of getting a mutually agreed-to plan to open the border or, short of that, expanding the category of who is an essential traveller,” Higgins said. “But I have come to realize that the Canadian federal government response to COVID-19 was early, strong and united. The American federal government response was slow, chaotic and adversarial.”