Ottawa Prepares To Reopen Canada-U.S. Border

Ottawa is preparing to reopen the border with the United States.

The federal government’s plans to begin easing restrictions at the border come despite the fact that Canada remains far behind the U.S. in terms of COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Senior officials have begun to formally talk about options for how to reopen the border between Canada and the U.S. One plan reportedly under consideration is whether to employ a two-track system in which quarantine and testing requirements would be relaxed for vaccinated travelers.

The world’s longest international border has been shut since March 2020 to most non-essential travel, dramatically reducing land and air traffic between the two countries. The restrictions have hurt Canada’s tourism and airline sectors, costing them $20 billion in revenue last year.

Any reopening of the border would be gradual and contingent on declining COVID-19 cases in both countries.

The third wave of the pandemic has hit Canada harder than the U.S. because of a vaccine rollout that’s been slowed by supply issues and shipment delays. According to Bloomberg News’ Vaccine Tracker, 34.1% of Canadians have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and only 2.7% are fully vaccinated, compared with 46.6% and 35.8% in the U.S.

Trudeau has said that most Canadians aren’t likely to be fully vaccinated until September, at the earliest.