PNWER Statement on Opening the Canada-U.S. Border
June 9, 2021   
SEATTLE - PNWER Calls for a Coordinated Reopening Plan for the Canada–U.S. Border before June 21, 2021
The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) calls on both Ottawa and Washington, D.C. to release a coordinated plan for the re-opening of the Canada–U.S. Border to allow safe cross- border travel. For the past year, PNWER has strongly recommended the development of a coordinated plan for the easing of travel restrictions at the border. PNWER continues to urge both countries to implement an aligned, phased, and risk-based approach informed by scientific evidence for the safe opening of the border.
“It has been 14 months that this border running along my district in Montana has been closed for all but essential commerce. It is time to re-open the border and allow families to reunite, and for those with property on the other side of the border to visit their homes,” said Montana Senator Mike Cuffe, President of PNWER.
With the recent announcement that the European Union is opening travel within their 27 member states, the PNWER Executive Committee believes that now is the time for Canada and the U.S. to also release guidelines for the safe resumption of cross-border travel. The Canada–U.S. trading relationship is among the largest in the world, and economic impacts of the border closure over these 14 months can be seen on both sides of the border.
Richard Gotfried, Member of the Legislative Assembly in Alberta and Vice President of PNWER stated, “It is time that we had a clear set of protocols and a plan for the phased re-opening of the border with a clear data-driven, science-based approach, ensuring the safety of all citizens of our two nations.”
The restrictions that have been in place for over a year, while necessary to protect human health, have had severe impacts on both social and economic relationships that transcend the border. Important connections have been constrained, and both businesses and individuals have struggled as a result. These long-standing relationships have been the foundation of the Pacific Northwest’s economic strength for decades. Reinvigorating these relationships will be key to building a robust economic recovery across our region. Releasing clear guidelines for reopening the border will provide the clarity and certainty needed to allow individuals and businesses to begin planning for a brighter future.
Matt Morrison, Executive Director of PNWER and Co-Chair of the Future Borders Coalition, added, “Both governments should work on a common approach for re-opening of the border that reflects our longtime partnership on areas such as trade, business, education, and tourism. We should also leverage the inter-agency trust built over the years on border policies.”
In Canada, the Minister of Health’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel has issued its report and recommendations for the phased re-opening of the border. PNWER supports those recommendations and urges the Governments of Canada and the U.S. to implement a clear plan for border reopening.
Founded in 1991, PNWER is the only statutory, non-partisan, bi-national, public/private partnership in North America. PNWER is the forum for collaborative bi-national planning involving both the public and private sectors and offers leadership at the state/provincial level in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest and Yukon Territories and at the national level in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa.
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