Canadian Manufacturing

Canada, U.S. business leaders urge Congress to demand to see northern border plan

Interagency working groups established by the White House are examining the issue of international travel.

August 5, 2021  The Canadian Press

A group of U.S. and Canadian business leaders are pushing Congress for a plan to ease restrictions at the land border with Canada.

The group, led by the North American Strategy for Competitiveness, wants senior congressional leaders to demand a detailed strategy from the Department of Homeland Security.

Specifically, the coalition is worried about what it calls “tremendous delays” as border agents struggle to process vaccination status and COVID-19 test results from inbound travellers.

Their letter to senior members of Congress calls on the department to explain how it plans to deal with an influx of visitors from Canada when the travel ban is finally eased.

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“We understand the necessity of protecting public health and believe that the U.S. can do so while also easing the restrictions at the land border,” the letter reads.

However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection “does not appear to have a plan in place to execute a safe reopening without causing tremendous delays at land ports of entry.”

The letter is addressed to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House committees and subcommittees on homeland security, as well as members of several key Canada-U.S. caucus groups.

Its signatories include organizations focused on cross-border commerce and travel, including the Canada-U.S. Business Association, the Border Trade Alliance and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross into Canada beginning Aug. 9. The U.S., however — citing concerns about the Delta variant — has extended its own restrictions at land crossing points until Aug. 21.