Canada-U.S. border restrictions: Canada teases a phased loosening of rules, with proof of COVID-19 vaccination

·2 min read

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, indicated that conversations are ongoing between Canada and the U.S., in addition other countries, on a possible phased approach to adjusting and loosening border measures.

The current border restrictions at the between Canada and the U.S. are set to expire on June 21. LeBlanc said that while that's the date orders in council are renewed, adjustments to border measures do not have to take effect on that date.

Will you have to prove you've been vaccinated to travel?

As Canadians look towards the possibility of returning to recreational international travel in the foreseeable future, the intergovernmental affairs minister said there was broad consensus between federal, provincial and territorial leaders to work together on proof of vaccination with respect to international travel specifically.

"Whether some provinces choose to have vaccination proof as a requirement for certain public activities or certain gatherings, that is properly a provincial jurisdiction, we don’t have a federal government view with respect to that," LeBlanc said.

"There may have to be a transition measure, for example, if there’s a phased adjustment of border measures in July or later in August or so on."

The federal government is also working with the European Union and the U.S. to find an appropriate "probably digital" proof of vaccination for Canadians wishing to travel internationally.

"I think one would expect a continued distinction for a period of time between those who are vaccinated coming in and those who are not until there’s such a time as we can tolerate the risk in Canada, no matter whether someone is vaccinated or not," Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said.

She added that as Canada continues to administer vaccines, recognizing that other countries will not have the same vaccination rate is an important distinction for travellers.

"We need to make sure that they know that there will be requirements from other countries...and that they know what to do when they come back," Dr. Tam said. "I think that in a world where we try to separate different countries according to risk is one way that some countries are managing their futures."

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