OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says more research is needed before Canadians should expect the border to the United States or travel to the European Union is given the OK.
Trudeau’s comments come a day after the European Union announced it would likely open up travel again to Americans who have been fully vaccinated.
Canada has closed its land border with the United States for more than a year and has banned most foreign nationals from entering the country, with limited exceptions.
Politicians on both side of the border with America have been pushing for more clarity on when it might be reopened, including a recent town-hall meeting in International Falls, which Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski virtually joined.
The prime minister said the country’s priority remains protecting Canadians from COVID-19.
“Scientists and other experts are currently watching the impact of full vaccination on the ability of the virus to spread,” Trudeau said at his daily news conference, through an interpreter.
“Once the time is right we will open up the borders again, properly, perhaps with necessary vaccination certificates. But we’re not yet at this point. We need to ensure that when the time comes, we do things right to continue to ensure that Canadians are safe.”
Canada earlier this year asked airlines to voluntarily stop flying to tropical destinations and instituted strict rules for passengers flying back to Canada, including self-expensed three-day quarantines at a government approved hotel and negative COVID-19 tests before and after arriving in the country. Many travelers have instead opted to fly into border communities and cross into Canada on foot, avoiding the hotel stay requirement.
With the exception of travelers considered essential, everyone entering Canada must self-quarantine for a full two weeks or face fines as high as $750,000 and up to six months in prison.