The Canada-U.S. border is to remain shut for another month to August 21, according to sources close to the Prime Minister’s office.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly confirmed the extended closures in a phone call with the United States, President Donald Trump earlier in the week.

The border has been closed since 21st of March to stop the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

With multiple cases, recorded across the U.S. states, any opening of the Canada-U.S. border poses a risk to the health of Canadians.

A recent poll saw eighty (80) per cent of Canadian Citizens in favour of keeping the border closed. The United States Congress recently called for a plan to be established for the phased reopening of the border.

The border is close to non-essential travels. Canada last month announced an exemption to allow immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter, provided they are staying for fifteen (15) days or more.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has offered guidance on what make up essential and non-essential travels.

Reasons considered ‘non-essential’ includes:

  • To visit family members for a vacation.
  • For the birth of a grandchild, cousin, nephew, niece, etc.
  • To spend time at a secondary residence (vacation home, fishing or hunting lodge, etc.). This includes entry for maintenance or upkeep purposes.
  • To attend the funeral of a family member (This purpose of travels would be uncertain due to quarantine measures and limit to the number of attendees at funerals under provincial restriction.)

Reasons considered ‘essential’ include travel for:

  • Economic service and supply chains.
  • Critical infrastructure support.
  • Health (immediate medical care), security and safety.
  • Supporting Indigenous communities.
  • Transiting through Canada for non-discretionary or non-optional purposes.
  • Studying in Canada if already approved for a study permit on or prior to March 18.
  • Tending to family matters for non-discretionary or non-optional purposes when there is no one else available in Canada to assist.
  • Any other activities that are considered non-optional or non-discretionary by the Canadian government or based on an officer’s assessment.

Different Interpretations

People wishing to come to Canada have faced some difficulties with the interpretations of the rule differing between IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

This has led to travellers turning up at the border expecting to be allowed to cross but then disallowed.

14-Day Self-Quarantine Plan

Regardless of the reasons for travels or exemptions, any traveller with coronavirus symptoms will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Furthermore, anyone entering Canada from the United States or any other country will be required to self-quarantine for a period of fourteen (14) days upon entry.

Travellers are also asked to present a quarantine plan, with details of where they will stay, how they will get food and medications and whether they will be staying with vulnerable people or those with pre-existing medical conditions.

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