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Joint Statement from Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce (WERCC), Detroit Regional Chamber (DRC) and Canada-U.S. Business Association (CUSBA)

The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce President & Chief Executive Officer, Rakesh Naidu joined Sandy K. Baruah, President and Chief Executive Officer Detroit Regional Chamber, and Mark High, President Canada-United States Business Association in a joint statement urging the United States government to reopen the border to Canadian residents safely.

It has been a challenging 16 months since the U.S.-Canada border was closed to non-essential travel, creating uncertainty and frustration on both sides.  Travel restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus are estimated to have cost Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) $27.9 billion to $37.1 billion and the loss of 400,000 to 500,000 jobs in 20201. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs the U.S. economy $1.5 billion in potential travel exports.  While more work on vaccination rates is needed and diligence is still necessary, our organizations representing business interests on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border are united in calling for business, social and family-related travel to resume between our nations with appropriate safeguards in place.

The announcement earlier this week that the Canadian border would re-open for fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents starting on August 9 is welcomed by businesses and individuals on both sides of the border.  Prior to the pandemic and border closure, annual U.S. travel spending by Canadians averaged over $16 billion2.  In 2019, Canadian residents made more than 20 million trips to the U.S., but Statistics Canada reports that in 2020 travel plummeted to 4.2 million trips3.  Allowing for safe travel across the U.S.-Canada border will accelerate the economic recovery in both nations.

The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Detroit Regional Chamber, and the Canada-US Business Association call on the United States government to reciprocate the actions of the Canadian government and ease border restrictions.  Our respective nations’ social and business fabric are inextricably intertwined – especially in the automotive, mobility, technology and health care sectors.  Safely easing border restrictions will aid North American competitiveness in the global marketplace as well as the economic well-being of individuals and businesses in both Canada and the United States.

  1. Statistics Canada.  The Economic Impact of Travel restrictions on the Canadian Economy due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Liu, 2020
  2. US Travel Association, National Association of realtors and US Homeland Security, 2021
  3. Statistics Canada. Table 24-10-0045-01  Travel by Canadian residents in Canada and abroad by trip purpose (x 1,000)