The Canada-U.S. Border Closure Creates a More Favorable Environment for Canadian Retailers

Canadians are usually hopping over the border for Black Friday at a time like this every year. Black Friday is renowned for its massive crowds, substantial discounts, and exciting shopping atmosphere. U.S. retailers have always offered Canadians across the border great deals. However, this year will be different due to the Canada-U.S. land border’s closure to non-essential travel. This closure, a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, has created a captive market for Canadian retailers.

Tandy Thomas, an associate professor in the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, said the border closure created a more favorable environment for Canadian retailers because they won’t compete with their U.S. counterparts in the same way. She said it was literary a captive market. Besides, Thomas said that many Canadians would pop over the border in previous years to take advantage of the crazy deals down in the U.S., which often surpassed what they were getting in Canada.

Besides the pandemic preventing the Canadians from crossing the border, Tim Sanderson, executive vice-president and national lead for retail with JLL Canada, said most likely few shoppers would have bothered traveling south of the border in a normal situation given the value of the dollar.

Many Canadians feel the border closure will deny them a good opportunity for the black Friday’s crazy deals. Nonetheless, Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada, said the border closure, coupled with an increased push to buy local, would benefit Canadian retailers this holiday season. Brisebois said they strongly believed there would be more Canadians making that extra effort to shop in a local brick-and-mortar store as well as find them online.


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