Border between Canada and U.S. likely to close Friday night: Trudeau

Closure would target non-essential travel

The border between Canada and the U.S. will likely close sometime on Friday night or early Saturday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday.

Speaking at his now-daily press conference at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau said the details on the non-essential border closure were still being worked out with the American government. The closure will affect non-essential travel, not trade and essential workers who may be employed in a different country than they live. However, Ottawa has not elaborated on how border guards will determine who that exception applies to.

“I think it’s almost there,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday that the travel ban would likely be in place for about a month, although timelines remain a moving target given the nature of the outbreak and a persistent lack of clarity about the scope and severity of the emergency.

Trump, a border hawk who has already banned foreign nationals who recently visited Europe from setting foot in the U.S., has characterized the agreement as something that would be “good for both countries” — a departure for someone whose “America First” rallying cry, disdain for free trade and stay-home foreign-policy preferences have helped forge his reputation as a self-interested isolationist.

That reputation has some Canada-U.S. observers marvelling at the co-operation, while others fear the goodwill could be short-lived.

The Canadian American Business Council is asking members to submit testimonials about the importance of commercial channels “to make the case that these measures not be broadened in the future to include commerce.”

Chris Sands, a cross-border scholar and head of the Canada Institute at the Washington-based Wilson Center, noted that the U.S. hasn’t exactly been working hand-in-glove with other countries — most notably China or Europe — when it comes to curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“It is the fruit of nearly two decades of efforts by the United States and Canada after the Sept. 11 attacks to adopt a shared border management approach that is data-driven, utilizing risk management to allocate personnel and technology to keep the border open to legitimate trade and travellers in an emergency,” Sands said in a statement.

Until the closure takes effect, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has been urging Canadians in the interim to honour the spirit of the agreement and resist the temptation to try to enter the United States if it’s not absolutely necessary.

Trudeau said Canadians abroad will be getting a text message connecting them to consular service. He reiterated the offer of a $5,000 loan offer for Canadians abroad to come home.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

READ MORE: Trudeau promises $82B in economic supports in COVID-19 fight

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border closing to non-essential travel

– The Associated Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Police watchdog investigating after Abbotsford man seriously injured during arrest

Abbotsford police used ‘less lethal firearm’ and dog in arrest of man believed to have gun

Abbotsford woman releases book of poetry

Saniya Kaushal’s ‘you are not ugly’ addresses hurtful words and behaviours

UPDATED: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

VIDEO: Abbotsford Agrifair shares more about Drive-Thru Safari concept

Agrifair officials lay out plans for annual event, which runs from July 31 to Aug. 2

RCMP ask for assistance to find missing Chilliwack man

Raymond Gene Jarvis has been missing since early July

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

NDP wants Lower Mainland MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

BC Liberal leader, some MLAs apologize for Christian magazine ads but Laurie Throness doubles down

B.C. health officials pleased with likely extension of Canada-U.S. border closure

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the situation is ‘very serious in the United States’

‘Perfect storm’ led to bad year for mosquitos near Fraser River

High river levels and lots of rain meant many eggs hatched this year

South Surrey mom frustrated by city’s response after son, 10, has severe reaction to park grass 

City of Surrey parks manager says ‘potential steps’ to address concern under review

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Most Read