2021 Data Digest

The COVID-19 border restrictions are unprecedented in Canada – U.S. history.

On March 21, 2020, the U.S. – Canada border closed to all but essential travel for the first time since 9/11.

The impact has been unprecedented. Traffic has reduced by an average of 95 percent, affecting border communities that have relied on cross-border commerce and separating families and friends for nearly two years.

The story is captured in the following chart, initially developed at the outset of the pandemic, to track daily volumes (southbound only) and to see if there were any patterns in essential travel movements through the region’s largest passenger vehicle ports-of-entry (Peace Arch/Douglas and Pacific Highway).

But traffic started to increase in 2021, even before the restrictions were eased. A look at how 2021 volumes between January and August (southbound only) show that more people are crossing the border.