On May 19, 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that by mutual agreement with President Trump, the USA/Canada land border closure has been extended until June 22 to curb COVID-19 infections and nonessential travel will continue to be restricted.

President Trump has acknowledged that the U.S. must continue to keep legitimate, commercial trade flowing while limiting those seeking to enter our country for non-essential purposes and non-essential travel will not be permitted until the administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure. The U.S. and Canada first limited travel in March for a period of 30 days after President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to close the border to help contain the spread of coronavirus. On March 18th, President Trump tweeted “We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected”.

The border closure was then extended for an additional 30 days on April 18, with Trudeau explaining, “The agreement is the same terms. It’s just extended for another 30 days. It will ensure we continue to get essential goods and services back and forth across the border. Essential travel, including medical purposes, to attend educational institutions, for emergency response/public health purposes and lawful cross-border trade, would not be affected by the border closure.

Canada continues to implement more restrictions than the U.S., with the U.S. having several states that have already opened up hair salons, places of worship, massage parlors and face to face doctor and mental health appointments. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the only thing that’s allowed Canada to manage this first wave is the fact that international travelers have been banned and that returning Canadians and Canadian residents have quarantined for two weeks. The U.S. does not follow the same containment measures and there is no period of “quarantine” like the one passed in Canada. In addition, while Provinces, such as Ontario are implementing a 5-person rule, with the possibility of fines and/or imprisonment if caught, individuals in the U.S. are not similarly restricted.

It is not surprising that there have been more cases in the U.S. than in Canada. In fact, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Canada has had approximately 79,411 COVID-19 cases and at least 5,960 deaths, while the U.S. has had more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 and at least 90,000 deaths. The difference in figures is huge.

We know that the economy must open up and there must be people working; however, if the numbers continue to rise in the U.S., there won’t be any more people to work. This in conjunction with the fact that President Trump has banned immigration into the U.S., does not help the situation. To the contrary, Canada’s immigration programs continue to move forward and many temporary foreign workers are able to enter Canada to assist in the labour market shortage.

If you are in the U.S. and require assistance under these travel restrictions, please send us an email at info@poonahimmigrationlaw.com, so we may assist you.