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A further extension to the ban on non-essential travel across the Canada-US border is highly likely, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.
Although a final decision has not yet been reached, the border is set to remain closed until late July. The current closure expires on June 21.
The closure, originally imposed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus, has already been extended twice.
Now sources are saying it will be extended a third time.
There had been hope the border could reopen this month, given the pandemic is gradually being brought under control in Canada, especially outside the cities of Toronto and Montreal.
Canada this week announced an exemption to the border closure to allow immediate family members of citizens and permanent residents to enter.
Canada to Provide ‘Limited Exemption’ to U.S. Border Closure to Reunite Families
Who Can Cross Canada-U.S. Border? IRCC, CBSA Need Same Interpretation of COVID-19 Restrictions
Coronavirus: Canada-U.S. Border To Remain Closed For Another Month Until June 21
Currently, each of Canada’s provinces is doing all it can to safely re-open following virus-related lockdowns, looking to kickstart their economies after an incredibly difficult period.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has offered guidance on what constitutes essential and non-essential travel.
Reasons considered ‘non-essential’ include:
- To visit family for a vacation.
- For the birth of a grandchild, nephew, niece, cousin, etc. (For the parent of a child, this may be considered non-discretionary travel; however, it will still require assessment.)
- To spend time at a secondary residence (vacation home, hunting or fishing lodge, etc.). This includes entry for upkeep or maintenance purposes.
- To attend the funeral of a family member (This purpose of travel would be improbable due to quarantine measures and limits to the number of attendees at funerals under provincial restrictions.)
Reasons considered ‘essential’ include travel for:
- Economic services and supply chains.
- Critical infrastructure support.
- Health (immediate medical care), safety and security.
- Supporting Indigenous communities.
- Transiting through Canada for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes.
- Studying in Canada if already approved for a study permit on or before March 18.
- Tending to family matters for non-optional or non-discretionary purposes (such as bringing supplies to elderly parents or tending to sick family members) when there is no one else available in Canada to assist.
- Any other activities that are deemed non-optional or non-discretionary by the Government of Canada or based on an officer’s assessment.
People wishing to enter Canada have faced some issues with the interpretations of the rule differing between IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
This has resulted in travellers turning up at the border expecting to be able to cross, but then not being allowed.
14-Day Self-Quarantine Plan
Regardless of reason for travel or exemption, any traveller with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter Canada.
Furthermore, anyone entering Canada from the US or any other country will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days upon entry.
Travellers are also required to present a quarantine plan, with details of where they will stay, how they will get groceries and medication and whether they will be staying with vulnerable people.