A family visits across the U.S.-Canada border at the Peace Arch Historical State Park as a cyclist rides past on the Canadian side in Blaine, Wash., Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. Canada's immigration minister talked Canada-U.S. border issues when he spoke Monday with the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Elaine Thompson

Mendicino-Mayorkas meeting readout makes no mention of Canada-U.S. travel imbalance

Mendicino-Mayorkas meeting readout makes no mention of Canada-U.S. travel imbalance

WASHINGTON — Canada’s immigration minister talked Canada-U.S. border issues Monday with the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

But the federal government’s official account of the meeting between Marco Mendicino and Alejandro Mayorkas, released late Tuesday, makes no mention of the current imbalance in travel between the two countries.

The readout does say that the pair discussed managing what it calls a “secure border that allows for necessary travel as pandemic border restrictions begin to ease.”

Monday marked the first day in nearly 17 months that U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated were allowed to visit Canada.

Eligible American visitors to Canada must have allowed 14 days to pass since their last dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine, and must also show proof of a recent negative test for COVID-19.

The U.S., however, still won’t let Canadians, vaccinated or otherwise, cross the land border to enter the U.S. for non-essential purposes.

Ottawa’s readout describes the meeting between the two leaders “as a continuation of their first call” in June.

They “discussed their ongoing commitment to protecting the integrity of our shared North American perimeter,” it says, “and to managing a secure border that allows for necessary travel as pandemic border restrictions begin to ease.”

The meeting was billed as a next-steps followup to the commitments Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden made in February when they forged a “road map” for a renewed bilateral partnership.

That agreement specifically calls for “co-ordinated border policies” that keep the virus and its variants in check “while promoting economic growth and recovery.”

Despite that, the traffic over the Canada-U.S. border was markedly one-way Monday, leading to lengthy delays of several hours at some border crossing locations unaccustomed to high numbers of travellers. Those holdups had all but disappeared by 7 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Monday’s discussion also included global migration and refugees — “in particular, addressing the sources and challenges of forced displacement and irregular migration in Central America,” the readout said.

Ottawa says Mendicino also spent his time in Washington talking about immigration and post-pandemic growth at the Migration Policy Institute and the World Bank.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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