Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel

18 March 2020

Canada and the United States, in response to the COVID pandemic, have placed new restrictions on travel between the countries. This supersedes Canada's March 16 announcement regarding travel from the United States, which did not place any restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling into Canada.

This has now changed, although the time of implementation of the new rules has not yet been provided.



The border will be closed to "non-essential travel".  Specific rules are being worked out between Canada and the United States regarding the measures that will govern movement across the border.

Some information is set out in this news update. We will provide further information once the details are provided.

While it is not yet clear what type of travel will be considered essential versus non-essential, information provided at an update given today by Canadian authorities indicated that border crossings related to tourism or recreational activities would not be allowed.

Both Canada and the United States are emphasizing that cross border trade and commerce will continue.  Therefore, those involved in trade such as truck drivers should be seen as essential.

There are Canadians and Americans in border communities who hold work permits and who commute daily across the border to work.  Some crossings are clearly related to essential services, such as those working in the medical field.  However, there are as of yet no details on how or whether those with work permits will be assessed to determine if a work related crossing / job is essential or not.

Readers should stay informed and review the new guidelines as they emerge.


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