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Canada-U.S. border update expected in coming weeks: Trudeau

Last Updated Jun 22, 2021 at 9:46 am PDT

FILE -- U.S. Customs officers stand beside a sign saying that the U.S. border is closed at the U.S./Canada border in Lansdowne, Ont., on March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says time is still not right to reopen Canada-U.S. land border

Federal government continues to face increasing pressure over its travel restrictions

Trudeau says 'hopefully we'll have a better answer for people in the coming weeks'

OTTAWA – Despite complaints from businesses groups and other stakeholders, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding firm in his decision not to reopen the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel yet.

Speaking Tuesday, Trudeau reiterated the time isn’t right yet.

“As always, as a country, we make our decisions based on the best science, the best evidence, the best data available, and I know that our experts are leaning in on exactly that question to try and make a determination if, indeed, that is something we can be confident in as we move forward,” he said when asked when Canadians would be able to travel south of the border for leisure again.

“We will continue to work with jurisdictions that are doing that, we will continue to look at ways of getting life back to normal in a way that is safe and effective for everyone, but we were not ready to make that call yesterday for the announcement. So it’s something we’re going to look at carefully and hopefully we’ll have a better answer for people in the coming weeks as we look to make more announcements.”

The federal government has continued to face increasing pressure over its travel restrictions, as Canada’s vaccination rate rises and COVID-19 case counts fall.

Related video: Some international border restrictions lifting July 5 for fully-vaccinated travellers

“I understand the impatience people have to get travelling again, but keeping Canadians safe has been and will continue to be our number one priority throughout,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau’s remarks Tuesday came one day after the federal government outlined its first phase of relaxing some rules. As of July 5, Canadians, permanent residents, and other travellers who are permitted entry into Canada may request an exemption to the 14-day quarantine, including government-approved hotel stay, if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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However, the government did not outline any plans to reopen the country’s borders to non-essential travel, continuing to urge Canadians to avoid any trips that are not necessary.

“As the situation evolves, we will respond with new and adjusted border measures as needed, to keep Canadians safe and the economy running,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Monday, noting the Canadian government would be working with international, provincial, territorial, and industry partners to “determine next steps later this summer.”

The Canada-U.S. land border closure to most non-essential traffic has been extended until at least July 21.