New land border measures viewed as a sign of optimism for manufacturing sector
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor’s mayor hopes moving forward, there will be no new barriers created for trade and commerce after the federal government announced further border restrictions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday a negative COVID-19 test will be needed for those entering Canada’s land borders. The latest measure will start Feb. 15, with the hopes of keeping COVID from spreading within the country from those who travel.
“While this will be an additional layer of complexity and frustration for travelers, we already know that traffic across our crossings here in Windsor – the bridge and the tunnel are almost exclusively limited to essential workers and truck traffic associated with commerce,” Mayor Drew Dilkens told CTV News in an email.
Dilkens says for many, tourism just hasn’t been an option for the past 11 months.
“What we need to do, moving forward is make sure that we are not creating any new barriers for trade and commerce,” Dilkens says. “We’ve heard from too many local businesses in the manufacturing sector that they are missing out on contracts because US customers are worried about border issues at this time.”
Chairman of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers Jonathan Azzopardi says the new requirements will create some issues, but they support options that allow people to move across the border.
“We’re not afraid to meet those restrictions,” he says. “So, yes. It’s going to create issues, don’t get me wrong it’s gonna be one more step we have to do but if that step ensures being able to move people across the border freely we’re all for it. We support it."
Restrictions at the border has affected the purchase of big ticket items for manufacturing companies.
“I have suppliers today who can go get a test and 60 minutes later even 15 minutes later they’re getting a piece of paper that says they’ve tested negative and that is critical,” Azzopardi says. “They’re giving us two options that we think are viable.”
He says manufacturers and businesses in Windsor-Essex are not afraid of following the rules but would like to know what they are, so they can coordinate with clients south of the border.
“Us denying let’s say these two hundred visitors who cross the border is costing us not millions, but tens of millions of dollars of business,” Azzopardi says.
He says the new measures will hopefully change the sector’s trajectory for the next five years.
“Once they’re handed out and you’ve been passed up because of border issues or whatever the issues are, that opportunity is gone, so you’ve lost that opportunity for the next five years,” Azzopardi says. “This right now preserves those opportunities.”
In addition to limiting barriers to industry, Windsor's mayor also believes it’s important for the government to start considering how land borders will start reopening once widespread vaccines are taken across the country.