Increased border traffic likely as Canada, U.S. economies reopen: Freeland

The ban on non-essential travel is set to expire on May 21

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada and the U.S. are working on plans to deal with what she calls an inevitable increase in cross-border traffic as economies in both countries emerge from their pandemic-induced comas.

Freeland says traffic over the shared border is bound to increase as states and provinces reopen shuttered businesses and ease restrictions on personal mobility, even if the current Canada-U.S. ban on non-essential travel remains unchanged.

That agreement, which has allowed essential workers and trade shipments to continue to move back and forth between the two countries, was first imposed in March and is set to expire on May 21.

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended another 30 days

Freeland says discussions about when and how to begin easing those restrictions are ongoing, both between Canada and the U.S. and between the federal government and the provinces.

She says Canada will adhere to the same prudent and sensible approach that has guided it throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

And she says the premiers “by and large” share the same cautious view as the federal government.

“Inevitably, as our economies start to open up … even absent a single change in Canada’s border restrictions, we will see more travel across the border — we’ll see more Canadians choosing to go back and forth, and we’ll see more business activity, which will mean more essential travel,” Freeland said.

“That does mean that the federal government will need to do even more at all of our borders to keep Canadians safe and well, and that is something that we are working on right now, and we’re very focused on.”

On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made crystal clear how he feels about the prospect of allowing visitors to Ontario from the U.S., where COVID-19 has exacted a brutal toll: more than a million active cases and 81,000 deaths to date.

“I do not want those borders open,” Ford said, noting that his counterparts in Quebec and B.C. feel the same way.

Screening at airports and border crossings will need to increase “tenfold” once the restrictions are lifted, he added.

READ MORE: As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCoronavirusUSA

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

Just Posted

Majority of Salmon Arm shoppers aren’t objecting to mandatory masks

Two of the businesses requiring masks say most customers don’t mind but one person spit at employee

‘Schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP: Throne speech shows failures in COVID-19 response

Mel Arnold critical of Trudeau government’s throne speech Wednesday

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read