Canada-U.S. border closure will likely be extended until November: sources

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By Graham Slaughter CTVNews.ca Writer

Canada and the United States are expected to extend existing border restrictions until November, senior government sources tell CTV News.

The current agreement on the U.S.-Canada border closure to non-essential travel was set to expire on Sept. 21. Sources tell CTV News the restrictions will remain in place until it is felt that the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

The travel ban was first imposed in March and has been renewed every month since. Tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited, although trade and commerce are exempted.

This is the sixth renewal of the border restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic was declared.

The latest extension comes amid a surge in cases in Canada. Quebec reported 292 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest in the country, followed by Ontario at 251. On Monday, Canada’s total case count reached the highest it’s been since late May.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam is urging Canadians to follow physical distancing and other public health guidelines in hopes of halting the trend. Specifically, she encouraged people who expanded their social circles this summer to now limit the number of people they’re seeing.

The United States has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths of any country. New infections are rising in parts of the American Midwest and South, with Texas leading the nation in daily new cases and North Dakota seeing an upswing in infections. 

The decision to extend the border restrictions was reported the same day the U.S. decided to drop its 10 per cent tariff on aluminum. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called the tariffs a mistake from the beginning and said it’s “good news” for aluminum workers on both sides of the border.

With files from CTV’s Rachel Aiello and Sarah Turnbull