CBSA reports dramatic drop in traffic coming into Canada

The Canada Border Services Agency says travel into Canada is dramatically lower compared to the same time last year, pointing to the ban on non-essential travel imposed on March 21 as the culprit.

Commercial truck traffic down 33 per cent

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-U.S. border crossing in Windsor, Ont. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Travel into Canada is dramatically lower compared to this time last year, as a result of the ban on non-essential travel imposed on March 21 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a media release from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), travel volume during the week of April 20 to April 26 was down more than 90 per cent for those crossing via land, and more than 97 per cent at airports, compared to the same time a year ago.

On April 26 alone, travel on U.S. flights was down almost 99 per cent, while international air travel was down more than 97 per cent compared to 2019. These numbers are consistent with figures from April 13 to April 19. 

Commercial truck traffic — much of it flowing across the Ambassador Bridge — is 33 per cent lower than it was at this time in 2019.

According to Laurie Tannous, vice-president of government relations with the Farrow customs brokerage firm, the drop can be attributed to the shutdowns in the automotive and manufacturing industries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tannous said with people not buying certain goods, manufacturing of non-automotive goods has also been curtailed.

"I think companies were over-buying, thinking that consumers were going to purchase and they haven't. Consumers have been focusing their purchases on the essentials, on the necessities," she said.

According to the CBSA, there have been no restrictions placed on commercial truck traffic crossing the border.

In a statement, the CBSA said, "it must be noted that no measures have been introduced restricting commercial shipments or rendering certain products as non-essential, nor is there any indication of issues with supply chains for essential goods coming to Canada, including food and medical supplies."


Dale Molnar

Video Journalist

Dale Molnar is an award-winning video journalist at CBC Windsor. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor and has worked in television, radio and print.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?