Essential Work-Related Travel Between Canada and the U.S.

While U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to take a measured approach to reopening the border work-related travel, separating the two countries, they have released no details on what that might involve. They have said they will base the decision on science and health safety.

The President and Prime Minister have said that trucks and trains carrying goods to and from each country will continue to operate with no restrictions, which is good news for the construction industry. There have been no new announcements on when businesspeople can freely travel back and forth.

Trudeau, who pre-recorded an interview recently for Meet the Press, gave no inclination that the border will open any time soon. He said he would continue to engage with the Biden administration on the best times to release more information, “But for now, we all need to keep safe, and that means keeping (border restrictions) in place.”

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is easing somewhat, new variants of the virus are reasons for concern and the reason both governments extended the border closure through March 21. Among the metrics, Canada will consider are the number of new virus cases, the presence of the new variants, and the number of hospitalizations due to the coronavirus.

Biden did issue an executive order shortly after his inauguration in January to begin the process of creating a plan to reopen the border. Since then, however, Canada has tightened restrictions on border crossings, requiring people to get tested for COVID-19 before and after they arrive, in addition to a 14-day quarantine.

Essential and Work-related Travel: Canada & U.S

map of canada and united states work related travel

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the Notification of Temporary Travel Restrictions several times. They extended the restriction of non-essential travel at all land border ports of entry. Non-essential travel is not allowed on ferries, trains, or pleasure boats. The travel restrictions do not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel.

According to DHS, essential travel includes, but is not limited to:

  • S. citizens and permanent residents returning to the United States;
  • Those traveling for medical purposes;
  • People traveling to attend educational institutions;
  • Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Canada in furtherance of such work);
  • Workers traveling for emergency response and public health purposes;
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade, including truck drivers moving cargo between the United States and Canada;
  • Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
  • Members of the U.S. military and their families returning to the United States and;
  • Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.

Federally recognized tribal members with reservations spanning the United States-Canada border may also travel from one part of a reservation to another.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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