Earlier in July, we saw headlines promising that soon, very soon, cross-border land travel could resume between the US and Canada. Supposedly, the gates open next month.
At least, that’s what the headlines imply. The truth is a bit more twisted and tricky than that, partly because both countries don’t have the same re-opening dates, and because we’re (probably) about to see labour troubles at the border as well.
At this point, the Canadian land border is supposed to open for Americans on August 9, 2021; travelers from other countries can enter on September 7. Here’s the official announcement:
On September 7, 2021, provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the Government intends to open Canada’s borders to any fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.
As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans.
So. Canuckistan says Americans who want to travel across the land border (for instance, to ride to the Trans Labrador Highway, or Alaska, or …) can do so next month, as long as they pass their pre-arrival PCR COVID test, and have their shots, so to speak. More deets here.
Turns out, Canada is about to see labour unrest at the border. The Canadian Border Services Agency (aka CBSA—Canada’s equivalent to the Border Patrol) has voted to strike, after three years without a contract. They could strike as early as August 6, before the border opens to US traffic.
What would the impact be? Not all border workers would walk off the job, but things will slow down, for sure. CBC says this:
Many border workers would be deemed essential — but the union said strike action could slow down commercial traffic at the border and ports of entry, hit international mail and parcel deliveries from Canada Post and other major shipping companies, and disrupt the collection of duties and taxes on goods entering Canada.
So, while the border might technically be open on August 9, Americans looking to ride into or through Canada might still find it isn’t much fun.
What about Canadians entering the US?
So Americans can ride into Canada soon, as long as labour distruption doesn’t interfere. What about Canadians who want to enter the US?
At this point, the US has not opened its land border to non-essential travel from Canada. Hosers can still fly to Florida for vacation, but you cannot ride your motorcycle across. The most recent extension of the border closure expires on August 21—we’ll see what happens then. Politicians from American states that rely heavily on Canadian tourism dollars have been pestering their federal counterparts for a re-opening ASAP, but with tourism season winding down in late summer, no doubt those requests will be less urgent.