BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Congressman Brian Higgins has long been an advocate for making it easier to travel between the United States and Canada. He serves as the co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group and the Congressional Northern Border Caucus.

After closing to non-essential travel in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the borders between the two countries finally reopened in the second half of 2021. Canada started welcoming Americans back in August, while the U.S. reciprocated the following November.

But Higgins says there’s more to be done. The Democrat representing New York’s 26th District is calling for the end of the ArriveCAN app — a digital gateway for people looking to head north.

“The ArriveCAN app and other restrictions continue to be a barrier to the free flow of people across the northern border,” Higgins said. “My office regularly receives calls from western New Yorkers frustrated and confused by the technology and frequently changing, disjointed requirements for crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Consequently, to bypass the uncertainty and hassle it creates, many are avoiding making the trip across the border entirely. We have to get back to pre-pandemic US-Canada border management.”

Higgins’ office provided a set of data showing the differences in travel numbers between May 2019 and 2022.

  • May 2019: 171,000 passenger vehicles entered Canada via the Peace Bridge
  • May 2022: 101,000 passenger vehicles entered Canada via the Peace Bridge

“Continued hurdles to the free flow of people across the Northern Border are fizzling the fireworks border communities customarily enjoy this time of year,” Higgins said. “What now amounts to two and a half years of border restrictions, are breaking the U.S.-Canada relationship and our economies.”

On Wednesday, the Public Health Agency of Canada put out a statement saying current border measures are expected to remain in place until at least September 30.

“As we move into the next phase of our COVID-19 response, it is important to remember that the pandemic is not over,” Canadian Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said. “We must continue to do all that we can to keep ourselves and others safe from the virus. It is also important for individuals to remain up to date with the recommended vaccinations to ensure they are adequately protected against infection, transmission, and severe complications. As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, guided by science and prudence.”

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