Canada and the United States have one of the largest trade and travel bilateral relationships in the world and our two countries have a long history of innovation in the management and protection of borders. While recognizing that health protocols will become an integral part of all border crossings, the Future Borders Coalition has proposed four key principles to support a phased approach in July 2020 and we call on both countries to establish a Joint Task Force to implement them as soon as possible:
- A bi-national and coordinated approach should be adopted with the aim to develop mutually accepted risk-mitigating measures and health protocols.
- Both governments should adopt a layered risk-based approach when reviewing entry requirements and other travel restrictions.
- A phased approach for easing border restrictions should be informed by science-based criteria and communicated based on easily understood requirements.
- The economic impact of border closures on communities should be carefully assessed by both governments and inform the path towards the easing of border restrictions.
The proposed Joint Task Force – composed of government officials, public health experts, and supported by an Advisory Committee of private sector leaders – should start working as soon as possible on a set of risk-mitigating measures and health-related protocols with the view to establish a balanced framework for the orderly, safe and gradual easing of border restrictions. This is also an opportunity for both countries to contribute to the shaping of global standards and best practices in the post-COVID-19 world, strengthen our historical partnership and ensuring a sustainable recovery for all.