NY senator urges Biden to end vaccine mandate at Canada-U.S. border

Prominent U.S. lawmakers are urging President Joe Biden to “reciprocate” Canada’s new COVID-19 border policy by ending its long-running vaccine mandate for foreign visitors at the Canada-U.S. border. 

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Brian Higgins are calling on the White House to address the policy.

The Government of Canada ended its COVID-19 vaccination requirement for visiting foreign nationals on Oct. 1. It also made it optional for travellers to use the ArriveCan app for entry.

In a letter this week to the Biden administration, the politicians outlined a case for the U.S. to lift its vaccine rule for visiting foreigners.

“We urge the United States to reciprocate the policy of our Canadian neighbours by easing our own COVID-19 restrictions for the sake of our northern border communities and their economies,” Gillibrand and Higgins wrote in a letter to President Biden.

Both Canada and the U.S. have seen “significant declines” in their COVID-19 cases and death rates, in part thanks to the work the two countries have done together to manage their shared interests, the letter reads.

“We believe now is the most opportune moment to ease restrictions that would once again unleash the northern border economy, reunite friends, families, and colleagues across the border, and continue the U.S.-Canada partnership that has been crucial for both of our nations’ successes.”

As reported by the Canadian Press, the letter quotes federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, who said Canada is now “safely lift” the border vaccination measures.

“The United States must reciprocate this decision and allow Canadians to enter the country without requiring the reporting of an individual’s vaccination status.”

No changes to U.S. land border procedures are imminent, according to White House officials.

But the pressure is mounting

Earlier this week, on Oct. 3, the Canadian Trucking Alliance – in a joint letter with the American Trucking Associations – urged the U.S. government to end all cross-border entry requirements affecting non-U.S. citizens entering the country.