Canada extends US border closure through Feb. 21, 2021

Closure designed to ensure “safety of Canadians” against COVID-19

Several lanes at the United States border crossing in Lacolle, Quebec, is closed, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP) (Ryan Remiorz)

The closure of the border between the U.S. and Canada has once again been extended amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Update Feb. 22, 2021: US-Canada border travel restrictions extended to March 21, 2021

Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced on Jan. 12 that the U.S.-Canada border will remain closed until Feb. 21, 2021, in order to “ensure the safety of Canadians” against COVID-19.

“We are extending restrictions on non-essential travel with the United States until February 21st, 2021. Our Government will continue to ensure the safety of Canadians against #COVID19 and base our decisions on the best public health advice available,” Blair tweeted Tuesday.

The same rules will still apply: Essential travel, including certain workers and transportation of goods, is still allowed to cross the border between the neighboring countries. Nonessential travel is prohibited across the U.S.-Canada border.

Canada and the U.S. have limited border crossings since March 2020, extending the restrictions each month. Before Friday’s announcement, the latest closure extension was slated to expire on Jan. 21.

On Dec. 1, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the ban on nonessential travel with the United States will not be lifted until COVID-19 is significantly more under control around the world.

Read more: Canada: US border measures to last until COVID is under control

Quick facts about the US-Canada border restrictions:

  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents and Registered Indians under the Indian Act continue to enter Canada by right, and are subject to COVID-19 entry screening measures.
  • The CBSA has temporarily suspended or reduced service at certain small vessel reporting sites, small airports of entry, ferry terminals and to the Remote Area Border Crossing program. Travelers should review the list of CBSA locations that remain open during this temporary service suspension.
  • All persons entering Canada, unless exempted – no matter their country of origin or mode of entry - MUST isolate themselves for 14 days if they have symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19 or quarantine themselves for 14 days if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19. Foreign nationals who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter Canada, regardless of their reason for travel.
  • Travelers should consult the respective provincial/territorial websites to ensure that they are aware of the provincial/territorial entry, quarantine and public health requirements and can abide by those requirements.
  • As of March 31, 2020, anyone arriving in Canada in any mode (air, land, marine or rail) must provide their contact information to a border services officer when seeking entry. This information is collected on behalf of Public Health Agency of Canada to support the compliance to, and enforcement of, the 14 day quarantine or isolation requirement outlined in the Order in Council. Travelers are encouraged to download the mobile ArriveCAN App prior to arrival to reduce wait times and limit contact at the border. The App is available on the Apple App and Google Play stores.
  • For the latest on cross-border programs and services, travelers can call the CBSA’s Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.