11.18.21

FOLLOWING A LETTER AND DIRECT MEETING WITH CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES CANADA WILL BEGIN PROCESS TO REMOVE BURDENSOME & COSTLY TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR VACCINATED NEW YORKERS

Senator Fought For Months To Reopen U.S.-Canadian Border, Which Recently Advanced; But The Overly Stringent Testing Policy Was Harming Economic Flow Between Nations 

Schumer Advocated Directly To PM Trudeau To Remove Expensive, Burdensome Testing Requirements For Vaccinated American Travelers 

Canada Will Remove The COVID-19 Testing Requirement For Canadians Who Spend Less Than 72 Hours In The U.S. And Begin Working On Easing The Burden For North Bound Americans 

Schumer: Families, Shoppers, Sports Fans, Businesses Will Now Be Able To Travel More Easily Across The Border Just In Time For The Holidays! 

After a personal meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that Canada will now remove the stringent molecular COVID-19 testing requirement for Canadians who spend less than 72 hours in the U.S. and importantly will begin working on easing the testing requirement burden for vaccinated Americans traveling to Canada.

Schumer said that Canada’s policy stated that vaccinated travelers crossing the border to enter Canada must present a negative pre-arrival molecular coronavirus test no more than 72 hours before their arrival at the border, but that this created an extreme economic hardship and burden for vaccinated folks seeking to travel. Now, after Schumer spoke directly with Prime Minister Trudeau, he says Canada will first lift the testing requirements for Canadians entering the U.S. and then begin work on easing the overly expensive and cumbersome pre-arrival molecular coronavirus test for vaccinated New Yorkers and Americans traveling to Canada.

“Canada and the United States share an interest in safe and sure reopening of the border to vaccinated travelers. It hurts both our great nations’ economies when fully-vaccinated individuals face costly and cumbersome hurdles,” said Senator Schumer. “Following my letter with fellow senators and direct conversation with Prime Minister Trudeau, I am pleased Canada is taking action to improve the border testing policy— in a safe way based on science, data and common sense — to allow for safe and more steady border travel by fully vaccinated travelers just in time for the holidays.”

Schumer explained that the currently required molecular coronavirus test, such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, are expensive and burdensome and can cost between $100-$300 for individuals looking to travel over the border. In addition, Schumer said that these tests are often not easily accessible, with some having to drive hours out of their way to get an accepted test just to travel, which greatly impeded the kind of short-term travel, for the fully vaccinated, that is the lifeblood of communities on both sides of the border. Schumer also noted that while some travelers may have access to free or discounted tests, the timing of test results can make traveling extremely difficult.

Earlier this week Senator Schumer joined Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) in a joint letter asking the Canadian government to help address the challenges created by COVID-19 testing requirements that could slow travel between the U.S. and Canada.

A copy of the bipartisan letter Senator Schumer sent with his colleagues appears below:

Dear Minister Joly:

As the northern U.S. border opens to vaccinated travelers and tourism this week, we commend the Canadian government for its early and consistent efforts to fully reopen the U.S.-Canada border. While there is much to celebrate, we ask that the Canadian government help address the challenges created by coronavirus (COVID-19) testing requirements that could slow travel between the U.S. and Canada.

We have heard from constituents that the testing protocols required by the Canadian government to enter the country will make it very costly for individuals to travel between our two nations. Currently, the Canadian government requires vaccinated travelers entering the country to take a pre-arrival molecular COVID-19 test, which can be costly. This expense could discourage tourism and will be prohibitively expensive for individuals who regularly travel across our northern border, including those in Minnesota, Maine, Idaho, and New York. 

While some travelers may have access to free or discounted tests, the timing of test results will prove challenging to navigate. We applaud the steps Canada has taken to ease cross border travel restrictions and urge the Canadian government to now remove testing requirements for vaccinated travelers and to engage with U.S. authorities regarding any concerns. It is important for both of our nations’ economies that fully vaccinated individuals are able to travel between Canada and the U.S. with ease.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

 

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