Governments of Canada and the United States Announce They Will Close the Border Between the Two Countries for Non-essential Travel

On March 18, 2020, the governments of Canada and the United States announced they will be closing the border between the two countries for all non-essential travel.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents will continue to be permitted entry to Canada as long as they are not showing symptoms of the virus (if travelling by plane).  U.S. citizens will be no longer be permitted to enter Canada, unless they will be providing “essential services.”  Example of essential services include medical, transportation and other supply chain services necessary for continued trade between the countries.

It would be up to the individual U.S. citizen to demonstrate to a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer the essential services they are required to provide in Canada. The mere possession of a Canadian work permit will not satisfy the threshold for “essential services.” In the individual’s discussions with CBSA officers, the standard for essential services will be set extremely high.  For the business sector, allowable activities will be principally limited to emergency repair work and unforeseen business critical services.  

The governments have not announced when the border closure will take effect, however it is imminent.

Any U.S. citizen who ordinarily resides in Canada and is currently abroad should immediately return to Canada.

No cross-border travel should be scheduled until the border restrictions are lifted and the self-isolation period removed.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.