Partial closure of Canada-U.S. border extended to Oct. 21

OTTAWA — The partial closure of Canada's border with the United States is being extended another month, to Oct. 21, both countries announced Friday.

Crossings of the border have been largely restricted to trade goods, essential workers and citizens returning home since March, in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and his American counterpart, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, each tweeted the latest one-month extension of the closure agreement.

"We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe," Blair wrote.

The pandemic has raged in the United States throughout the spring and summer, and cases in Canada have recently started rising again as well.

At the same time, leaders in border communities have asked federal authorities to loosen restrictions slightly to allow people with links on both sides to live more normally.

The Conservatives called Friday for Blair to allow more compassionate exemptions to the closure, such as for people who are engaged to be married or where loved ones are seriously ill.

"We are calling on the Trudeau government to take a compassionate approach to resolve situations where families remain separated, while ensuring the health and safety of Canadians," public safety critic Shannon Stubbs said.

"No one should have to guess whether they will be allowed across the border to be with family. The government must be clear about who can travel across the border, and in what circumstances."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2020.

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