If you’re planning to cross the border in the next few days, or you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of your latest Amazon order, you can rest easy. The United States government shutdown probably won’t affect you.
The U.S. government began shutting down Friday night after weeks of deliberations ultimately failed to resolve partisan disagreements on immigration and spending. While American citizens will likely feel the effects of a shutdown more directly, many are wondering whether Canadians will be caught in the crossfire.
While thousands of U.S. federal employees will be “furloughed,” or given a leave of absence for each day government funds remain suspended, certain employees classified as providing essential services will continue to work.
These include border patrol agents and U.S. postal workers, as well as military, special counsel, social security services, air traffic control, and the Transportation Security Administration.
Canadians looking to cross the border during the shutdown need not worry, border patrol agents are considered essential services and will continue to work.
If you’re planning to visit Washington D.C. during the shutdown, and you were hoping to take in a museum or spend some time in a national park, some of these may be closed.
A representative from Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland’s office told Global News in an emailed statement that Canadians should take the time to make sure their travel plans aren’t impacted, since there is still the possibility for delays despite border agents returning to work.
A scan of the wait times at the Canadian ports of entry listed on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website revealed no significant delay as of Saturday afternoon.
Click here to check the wait times at a port near you.
The U.S. postal service will continue to work, which means that Canadians expecting online orders, letters or other packages from the United States will likely be unaffected.
While private citizens, for the most part, won’t feel the impact of the U.S. government shutting down, University of Toronto economic analysis professor Walid Hejazi says the Canadian economy probably will.
“The only real issue is, to what extent?” Hejazi says. “The U.S. government procures a lot of goods and services. Any Canadian company that has the U.S. government as a client will be impacted.”
He adds however, that Canadian businesses don’t have much cause for concern unless the shutdown lasts for a significant period of time. He goes on to warn that Canada’s trade dependency on the United States makes circumstances like these more risky.
“Seventy-five per cent of our trade is with the United States. Again, we make the point that you don’t want to have just one customer,” said Hejazi.