Not home for Christmas: Canadians returning from U.S. by land fell more than 92 percent in December

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      A lot of Canadians in the U.S. didn’t make it home for Christmas last year.

      The COVID-19 pandemic scuttled plans for family reunions as the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to non-essential travel.

      A report by Statistics Canada indicated that 92.4 percent fewer Canadian residents returned from the U.S. in Canadian-licensed automobiles.

      The plates of these vehicles were scanned at 111 land crossings equipped with what is called an Integrated Primary Inspection Line.

      The automated IPIL system uses camera technology to scan licence plates of vehicles entering Canada.

      According to Statistics Canada, the number of returning Canadians fell from 1.9 million in December last year to 146,000 in December 2020.

      In a report Wednesday (January 13), the federal indicated that the largest year-over-year percentage decline was in Yukon, dropping 99.2 percent.

      British Columbia came second with a 97.2 percent declined. Manitoba and Saskatchewan each posted  decreases of 95.1 percent.

      The U.S.-Canada border closed on March 21, 2020 due to COVID-19.

      On December 21, 2020, the Canadian government extended the closure for another 30 days.