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The Canada-U.S. border is to remain closed for another month to August 21, according to multiple sources.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly confirmed the extended closure in a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this week.
The border has been closed since March 21 to stop the spread of coronavirus.
With multiple U.S. states reporting record daily cases, any opening of the border poses a risk to the health of Canadians.
A recent poll saw 80 percent of Canadians in favour of keeping the border closed. The U.S. Congress recently called for a plan to be put in place for the phased reopening of the border.
The border is close to non-essential travel. Canada last month announced an exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens and permanent residents to enter, provided they are staying for 15 days or more.
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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) 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 the 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.