Opening the Canada-US border: Which country benefits?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
April 30, 2020, 10:21 PM GMT+0

Many Canadians aren’t convinced opening the border to the United States has any benefit for either country.

According to recent data compiled in both counties, Canadians are nearly twice as likely as Americans to believe neither country would benefit from re-opening the border at this point.

In mid-April, both governments agreed to keep the border shut to all but essential travel to help stem the spread of COVID-19. The flow of trade and commerce remains and health-care workers who cross the border for work are allowed to do so.

Days before the agreement was reached to extend the closure, President Donald Trump said "Our relationship with Canada is very good -- we'll talk about that. It will be one of the early borders to be released," the president said. "Canada's doing well, we're doing well -- so we'll see."

Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the main concern is “how we manage those re-entries so that we can continue to prevent new numbers of cases from arising from countries that perhaps don’t have a very good handle on what’s going on in their country,” when asked in late April about opening the border.

Attitudes surrounding the virus differ slightly between nations. According to YouGov’s International COVID-19 Tracker, 65 percent of Canadians are somewhat or very scared of contracting the virus, compared to 60 percent of Americans. The same tracker also shows the stark difference in attitudes towards government handling of the crisis. As of April 30, Canada had 1,366 cases per million people and the United States had 3,142 cases per million people.

Meanwhile, in some regions of both counties, restrictions are relaxing. Manitoba and Saskatchewan, for example, both have set out plans to allow some businesses to open on May 4. On the south side of the Canada-US border, Georgia allowed some businesses to reopen with guidelines in the last week of April.

Methodology: Canada results are based on 1,013 Canadian adults between April 24 - 29, 2020. US results are based on 7,016 US adults between April 23 - 24, 2020.

Image: Getty

Explore more data & articles