Canada and the United States will announce a deal to partially close the border on Wednesday, while allowing trade and commerce to continue, sources say.
To stem the spread of COVID-19, the two countries are finalizing a deal to close the border to non-essential travel.
The Globe and Mail is not identifying the sources because they were not granted permission to speak publicly.
An official said the two countries are in advanced talks but are still working out the details, including what the definition of non-essential travelers will be.
Generally speaking, the official defined non-essential travel as tourism and cross-border shoppers. The federal government has stressed that border closures will not affect Canadians and permanent residents returning to the country.
On Monday, Canada announced it was closing the border to non-citizens with the exception of permanent residents and Americans among a few other exemptions. At the time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the exception for Americans was done because of the particular relationship Canada has with the U.S.
Government ministers have described the cross-border traffic between the two countries as a “lifeline.”
There is more work to be done to finalize the deal, the official said, but they underscored the partial shutdown would still allow for medical supplies, food and other goods to continue to cross the border.
Both countries want to keep going with trade and commerce, the official said. That includes things such as auto parts, which the official said would continue to be moved.
A different source said discussions focused on protecting the supply chain and ensuring cargo can still get through.
U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier Tuesday that he was “discussing things” with Canada, but wouldn’t say that the U.S. would close the border when asked about the possibility.
“I don’t want to say that. But we are discussing things with Canada, and we’re discussing things with Mexico, quite honestly,” he said at a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. “And, again, the relationship is outstanding with both. Outstanding.”
The President pointed out that Canada had exempted U.S. citizens from the travel ban announced earlier in the week. “Canada has not closed it to the United States,” he said.
With a report from Adrian Morrow