The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least December 21 as the battle to contain the spread of coronavirus continues.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed the decision in a tweet on November 19. The closure had been due to expire on November 21, with the extension widely expected.
“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until December 21st, 2020,” Blair tweeted.
“Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe”
The latest extension means the world’s longest land border is to be closed for at least nine months.
Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in several U.S. states, while Canada is battling a second wave of the pandemic in several provinces.
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to all non-essential traffic since March 21, with government on both sides of the divide renewing the closure on a monthly basis.
Canada also has in place restrictions on international travel to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Canada Immigration numbers remained low in September, as travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic continued to dramatically impact permanent resident arrivals.
The 15,000 newcomers arriving in September means Canada welcomed just over 40,000 in the third quarter, slightly more than the previous quarter but less than half of the 104,000 arrivals in the same period of 2019.
In the first nine months of 2020, Canada saw 143,465 new permanent residents arrive, compared to 263,945 in 2019.
In a glimmer of recovery, September saw the second-highest number of arrivals for a complete month since COVID-19 took grip in Canada midway through March.
Canada has outlined plans to welcome more than 400,000 newcomers per year from 2021 to 2023, but the numbers cannot start to increase until the virus is under control and the border reopened.
Canada’s travel restrictions bar entry to all except citizens and permanent residents, with some exemptions.
Canada currently has exemptions in place for the following people, provided they are travelling for a non-discretionary reason.
- Seasonal agricultural workers, fish/seafood workers, caregivers and all other temporary foreign workers.
- International students attending a Designated Learning Institution with an approved COVID-19 readiness plan.
- Permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.
- Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents are also exempt if entering to be with an immediate family member for at least 15 days.
- Extended family members of citizens and permanent residents, plus foreign nationals travelling on compassionate grounds.