The re-opening of the Canada-U.S. land border has been postponed by the government of Canada until at least July 21. At that point it will have been 487 days since non-essential land travel has been permitted between the two neighbours.
The continued closure is at the behest of the Canadian government, and American politicians have been critical in response. The Democratic congressman from Buffalo, N.Y., Rep. Brian Higgins, was particularly blunt:
“I wish there was a more artful way to say this — but this is bullshit. It’s arbitrary. It doesn’t follow the science, it doesn’t follow the facts, it doesn’t follow the data.”
As Montreal Economic Institute economist Maria Lily Shaw points out in this Fresh Takes piece, there are mounting economic consequences to the ongoing shutdown. American tourists help support the 1.9 million jobs in tourism-dependent industries in Canada, and these vacationers spend $11.3 billion each year when they visit Canada. This means Canada is losing up to $30.8 million for each day the border remains closed.
In conclusion, Shaw calls for a re-evaluation of the closures as both countries raise their vaccination rates:
“While closing the border last year may have been justified given our scientific knowledge at the time, and may have even provided an extra layer of protection against the virus, we must now re-evaluate the necessity of the remaining restrictions. The government has to establish a clear plan for the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border, and stick to it. With over 75 percent of Canadians having received at least one dose, and 53 percent of eligible Americans fully vaccinated, the risks are shrinking every day. And so is our patience.”