By Paul Vieira


OTTAWA--Canada said Friday it would extend a ban on entry by tourists into the country, including along the U.S.-Canada border, until July 21, while indicating it is preparing to relax travel restrictions for fully vaccinated citizens.

Further information on new guidelines for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents and others allowed to enter Canada will be provided Monday, said the country's public safety minister, Bill Blair.

On his official Twitter account, Mr. Blair said the move to extend the ban on entry via the U.S.-Canada land border was done in coordination with Washington. U.S. officials didn't respond to requests for comment.

The current 30-day ban prohibiting nonessential visitors from crossing at the U.S.-Canada land border was set to expire Monday at midnight.

After a slow start, Canada has made significant progress on the vaccination front. Two-thirds of Canadians now have at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine--ahead of the U.K. and U.S.--and 15% are fully vaccinated, according to University of Oxford's Our World in Data. Case counts in Canada have sharply dropped since a peak in mid-April from a third wave of infections.

At a press conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the extended ban on nonessential travel at the land border was necessary, as Canada has yet to meet its target of 75% vaccinated with one dose and 20% with a second dose.

"We are looking forward to getting back to normal as quickly as possible, but we're not out of this pandemic yet," Mr. Trudeau said, adding Canada will proceed with a phased-in approach toward relaxing border restrictions.

Mr. Trudeau said the government would be easing some restrictions pertaining to fully vaccinated Canadians. However, he warned it is still possible for fully-vaccinated people to spread the virus to the unvaccinated after returning from abroad.

"We have to really make sure that not only people who are fully vaccinated can travel but that the community to which they will return are not at risk," he said.

Senior U.S. lawmakers, such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), and members of Congress have been critical of Canada's reluctance to reopen the border to visitors. Some members of Mr. Trudeau's Liberal Party caucus are also signaling frustration.

Business Council of Canada, a lobby group representing the country's blue-chip chief executives, said it was disappointed with the Liberal government's decision. "Canadians need a clearly articulated plan to reopen the border safely so that friends and families can be reunited and businesses can welcome back travellers," the council said in a statement.


Write to Paul Vieira at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 18, 2021 13:25 ET (17:25 GMT)

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