Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U. S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U. S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

WASHINGTON, Wash. — Limits on travel between Canada and the United States will persist for at least four more weeks, the federal government confirmed Monday despite signs of growing impatience south of the border.

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until Nov. 21, 2020,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair declared on Twitter.

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

Incidental visits like vacations, day trips and cross-border shopping excursions have been forbidden since March in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The restrictions do not apply to those who must cross to ensure the continued flow of goods and essential services, including truckers and health workers who live in one country but work in the other. Canada has also added certain exemptions to reunite extended family members.

But despite alarming signs of the pandemic making a comeback on the cusp of colder weather and flu season, President Donald Trump and his officials have persisted in playing down the dangers, and speak straight-faced about lifting the ban sooner rather than later.

“We are working closely with Mexico and Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future and support our border communities,” acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement Monday.

In an interview last week with a Detroit radio station, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Trump’s claim last month that Canada is keen to resume travel — a sentiment that’s at odds with both public opinion and the official position north of the border.

“We’ve got to get America back going again. And the Canadians want this, too,” Pompeo told WJR Detroit.

“We’re working to create a set of international protocols so that we can do the right thing, make sure people stay safe and healthy, but make sure also that people can do the things they need to do to take care of their families and their businesses.”

An online poll released last week by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggested two out of three Canadians would not be comfortable travelling to the U.S. even once the restrictions are lifted.

The strongest reservations were expressed in Ontario and B.C., where 77 per cent said they would not travel. Quebec and Atlantic Canada were somewhat less concerned at 63 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively.

Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not generate a random sample of the population.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the travel ban won’t be eased until there’s clear evidence the pandemic is slowing in the United States.

“We keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” Trudeau told the Global News podcast The Start last week.

“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.”

Trump, however, seems to see it differently, raising eyebrows last month when he suggested the border would reopen by the end of the year.

“Canada would like it open, and, you know, we want to get back to normal business,” he said.

“We have a great trade deal right now, and so we’re going to be opening the borders pretty soon.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Clearview Public Schools had slight enrolment increase in September. (Image from Facebook)
Positive COVID-19 test reported at Stettler high school

An individual who was at Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus has… Continue reading

Teresa Kutynec, Red Deer Christmas Bureau president, dressed up as Mrs. Claus during the Charity Checkstop on Saturday. The event supports four nonprofit organizations: the Christmas Bureau, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Red Deer Food Bank and Women’s Outreach Centre. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Charity Checkstop raises money for nonprofit organizations

Red Deerians can support four local nonprofit organizations without even having to… Continue reading

(Advocate file photo).
Woman ‘beyond frustrated’ by Red Deer College program’s volunteer requirements

Teddie Briggs says she was “beyond frustrated” after learning Red Deer College’s… Continue reading

Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts, of Red Deer are trying to spread the word about a new innovation for wheelchairs that they think will be especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Brayden Watts)
Red Deer company lands exclusive patent rights to wheelchair extension

By some small miracle, Hugh Danielson and Brayden Watts stumbled upon a… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Employee at Bethany CollegeSide in Red Deer tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Red Deer continuing care facility has tested positive… Continue reading

The commemorative plaque is seen on the outside wall at the Polytechnique in Montreal, on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Sunday will mark the 31st anniversary of the murder of 14 women in an antifeminist attack at Ecole Polytechnique on December 6, 1989. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Scaled-back, virtual ceremonies to mark 31st anniversary of Polytechnique killings

MONTREAL, France — The anniversary of the attack that cut short the… Continue reading

A man wears a face mask as he skateboards along a street in Montreal, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
COVID-19 cases hit new records as Tam urges perseverance, promises vaccine on the way

Canada’s top doctor urged cautious optimism — and a healthy dose of… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Manitoba judge rules church can’t hold drive-in services forbidden by health order

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba judge has rejected a church’s request to hold… Continue reading

Homeowners Cora and Alec Dion pose in the basement of their home in Fort McMurray, Alta., on May 8, 2020. More than seven months ago, the Dions were forced to flee Fort McMurray for the second time in four years as a spring flood threatened their home. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Halinda
Fort McMurray residents still cleaning, considering options after spring flooding

‘It’s worse than just having water, because it’s ice mixed in with the water’

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Anand says as soon as she knows when the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will arrive on Canadian soil, she will share that information with the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Negotiating contracts for vaccines in development needed flexibility: Anand

Health Canada officials are days, maybe even hours, away from approving the COVID-19 vaccine

Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota rises in the House of Commons, Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in Ottawa. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Speaker Rota reflects on first year presiding over unprecedented virtual Parliament

‘It’s not what I signed up for but it is what it is’

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $17 million Lotto Max draw

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $17 million jackpot… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Hay’s Daze: Not used to seeing giraffe with a mask

My bad. Now there’s an expression that used to stick in my… Continue reading

Most Read