By Paul Vieira 

OTTAWA--Canadian officials said Tuesday the government might release in the coming days a plan for a phased-in relaxing of border restrictions, which 15 months ago has largely prohibited tourists from entering the country.

Dominic LeBlanc, Canada's minister in charge of federal-provincial affairs, said officials might be ready to unveil details on or before June 21, or the day when the current 30-day ban on nonessential travel crossing the land border expires.

"We will have more to say as our posture evolves," Mr. LeBlanc said. "We'll obviously have something to say [around June 21] about these measures being rolled over and look ahead to possible adjustments over time."

Mr. LeBlanc's comments were a slight shift in tone in recent weeks, when Canadian officials provided no timeline on when border restrictions might be relaxed, and instead said it wanted to take a slow, cautious approach.

Canada last week took a first step when it said, beginning in early July, that fully vaccinated Canadians returning to the country would no longer be subject to some of the strict quarantine rules in place. However, Canadian business groups and some senior U.S. lawmakers, such as Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, have criticized the Liberal government for dragging its heels as it pertains to nonessential travel across the U.S.-Canada land border.

President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke on the sidelines of the Group of Seven leaders' summit in the U.K. regarding the U.S.-Canada border reopening.

After a slow start, Canada's vaccination program has caught up and exceeded countries like the U.S. and U.K. in administering at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to its citizens. According to the University of Oxford's Our World in Data, at least 65% of Canadians have had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 13% are fully vaccinated.

Canadian officials have previously said they would like to get to 75% of the population with one vaccine dose and 20% fully vaccinated before considering relaxing border measures. "Things appear to be moving in the right direction," said Canada's chief public-health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. Canada's seven-day average of new, confirmed Covid-19 cases has declined sharply since reaching a peak in mid-April during a third wave of infections.


Write to Paul Vieira at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2021 13:23 ET (17:23 GMT)

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