After 14 months of the Canada-U.S. border closure, the countries’ leaders face growing pressure to reopen; with over half of Americans fully vaccinated and the U.S. slowly returning to a pre-pandemic normalcy, politicians are putting pressure on the countries’ leaders to take action.
For instance, U.S. lawmaker, Chris Jacobs has recently introduced a bill demanding a report on easing restrictions or reopening the Canada-U.S. border to all travelers; the bill demands that government officials provide correspondence or communication with the Canadian government over the matter, and for the report be generated within 30 days of the bill’s enactment. Frustration over the lack of a clear reopening plan is also growing among Canadian politicians. As more and more Canadians become vaccinated and timelines for the second dose emerge, expectations for a clear reopening plan from the federal government grow.
I want a plan. I want to see a plan,Bernadette Clement, mayor Cornwall, Ont. to Canada Public Safety Minister Bill Blair
What has Prime Minister revealed about plans to reopen the Canada-U.S. border?
The CBC has revealed that Canadian officials are considering reopening the Canada-U.S. border in a multi-phase approach. Firstly, Canada will likely start with allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter the country as early as this summer, PM Justin Trudeau has disclosed.
Another example of a first-phase policy may be quarantine exemptions for travellers with a negative COVID-19 test.
Meanwhile, the current Canada-U.S. border restrictions will expire in late June; Canada’s Public Safety Minister was unable to confirm whether the first phase to reopen could begin this early. However, an anonymous official has expressed doubts of a June border opening and that it will likely happen in July.
What does this mean for Express Entry draws?
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) draws have been on pause for most of the past year. Many FSW permanent residence applications submitted prior to the pandemic have experienced significant delays in processing; the IRCC has indicated that they have been prioritizing the processing of candidates exempt from Canada’s travel restrictions. As the Canada-U.S. border begins to reopen, we will likely also begin to see Federal Skilled Worker draws resume.
Discussions around reopening the borders show Canada is taking steps forward in resuming relative pre-pandemic normalcy. A more concrete reopening plan from the government will likely be released as more Canadians become fully vaccinated.