Congressman Brian Higgins said he has received confirmation from the White House that, on May 11, the U.S. will lift its requirement for Canadians crossing into America to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Higgins said, “For over three years now, there have been barriers to cross-border travel. It has kept families apart and impeded economic recovery. While long-overdue, this last lifting of pandemic restrictions is certainly welcome news and critically important as we seek opportunities to encourage a robust cross-border exchange that delivers shared prosperity.”
Higgins’ team said President Joe Biden previously indicated plans to lift COVID-19 emergency orders on May 11, “but it was unclear up until this point how this would impact the lingering vaccine mandate on Canadians crossing land borders into the United States. In recent weeks, Higgins’ office has been reaching out to the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Homeland Security, and the White House for guidance.”
In March 2020, the border between the United States and Canada effectively closed to nonessential travel due to the pandemic. Higgins’ team said, “Families were separated and border communities were economically devastated.
“Over the last three years, the U.S. and Canadian governments changed border policies, beginning to remove restrictions, in a very slow and disjointed way. Canada ultimately lifted its vaccine requirement on Oct. 1, 2022. The United States continued to require proof of COVID vaccination for Canadians crossing the border into the U.S.
“In several actions – including letters, meetings, an amendment, and bipartisan legislation that would end the vaccination requirement for Canadians – Higgins has advocated strongly for a return to prepandemic border management, including lifting the U.S. proof of vaccination requirement on Canadians.”
The press release noted, “The United States and Canada share the world’s longest international border – 5,525 miles – with 120 land ports of entry, including four in Western New York. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Canada is the largest international inbound market to the U.S., with nearly 21 million visitors spending $20.8 billion in 2019, before the pandemic.
Higgins, whose Western New York district borders Southern Ontario, serves as co-chair of the Canada – U.S. Interparliamentary Group and the bipartisan Northern Border Caucus.