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Canada, Mexico Borders Closed to Everything But ‘Essential Travel’

While the U.S. and Canada have instituted restrictions on border crossing, both countries agree that the bans will not stop the commercial trucking industry from the making “essential” deliveries. - Photo: Jim Park

While the U.S. and Canada have instituted restrictions on border crossing, both countries agree that the bans will not stop the commercial trucking industry from the making “essential” deliveries.


While the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are all in agreement concerning the current restrictions on border crossing, all parties also acknowledge that the bans will not stop the commercial trucking industry from the making the necessary deliveries throughout North America.

At a recent press conference in Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stressed, “trucking will not be affected.”

“These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border,” Trudeau added.

He said he spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump earlier in the day, and both leaders agreed to temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada border as the two countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand that it is very important for the border to remain open because we are talking about $2 billion worth of goods that cross the border every single day,” Trudeau said.

“So, it is critical, not just for the health of our economy but for the health of our citizens that continue to be the case.”

Trudeau said he and Trump both want to ensure the smooth flow of essential goods across the border.

“That is something that we remain committed to. We will work in close collaboration on an ongoing basis to make sure that continues. And these measures will last in place as long as we feel that they need to last, we will again closely coordinate on that as well.”

On March 20th, the U.S. and Mexico jointly announced a limit to “nonessential travel” across the southern border. Exceptions include traveling for medical purposes and attending school, according to a report from CNN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also directed the Department of Homeland Security to suspend entry of all migrants "seeking to enter the U.S. without proper travel documentation," according to acting Secretary Chad Wolf.

Drivers crossing the Canada border are also being encouraged to carry copies of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security notice that defines the movement of cargo as “essential travel.” And while the U.S. temporarily suspended hours-of-service rules (HoS) for drivers hauling COVID-19 relief items, Canada has not yet followed suit. Any driver operating in Canada must still adhere to Canadian HoS rules, according to Transport Canada, at least for the time being.

“Transport Canada is working closely with industry to be prepared to quickly provide an exemption to federal hours-of-service rules if this becomes a necessary measure,” Transport Canada indicated to Today’s Trucking.

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