Business Groups Call For Reopening Of U.S.-Canada Border

Pressure is mounting on the federal government in Ottawa to reopen the border with the United States as soon as this month.

Chambers of commerce on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, along with other groups, issued a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that they want travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to cross the border without having to show a negative test or undergo a quarantine.

The business groups say the changes should take effect on June 22, the day after the renewal deadline for a pact that restricts travel between the two countries.

Easing restrictions this month "To take account of rising vaccination levels would sustain jobs, boost business confidence and allow more families to reunite," the business groups said in the letter. "It would help facilitate a safe and gradual return to a more normal life."

Signatories to the letter include the Canadian and U.S. chambers of commerce, the Retail Council of Canada, the National Retail Federation in the U.S., the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to shorten the existing two-week quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers in coming days. Tests would still be required, suggesting the initial Canadian move will fall short of the business groups’ demands.

Every month since March 2020, Canada and the U.S. have extended the border restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Now, with summer approaching and vaccination rates rising, lawmakers on both sides of the border are facing calls to lay out a plan for reopening the border.

A new poll conducted by Nanos Research Group shows Canadians are becoming more receptive to reopening the U.S. border. While 53% of respondents remain "somewhat uncomfortable" with easing restrictions on U.S. travel, that’s down from closer to 80% earlier in the pandemic.