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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Trail medical lab makes changes amid pandemic

Rossland and Salmo clinics are not seeing immunocompromised or suspect/symptomatic patients.

New city hall, four-storey development proposed for Rossland

The building would include 37 affordable housing units

Deadline approaching for Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre request for proposals

Applicants have until April 10 to submit their proposals for the project

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read