Relax border restrictions to allow families to reunite

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OTTAWA –
Beginning at midnight, immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents who are foreign nationals can enter Canada to be reunited, under a new exemption limited to current border restrictions. This new policy, announced by the federal government on Monday, will allow immediate family members from the United States and other countries to enter Canada under a series of provisions.

Eligible immediate family members will be spouses, common-law partners, dependent children and their children, parents and legal guardians. In order to be admitted, family members must have a plan to stay in Canada for at least 15 days, and they will need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering the country.

The family member in Canada who will receive their loved one will have to confirm that they have an appropriate place for their family to isolate themselves during the first 14 days of their stay, where they can access food and medicine. Their place of quarantine cannot be the place where they would have contact with a vulnerable person such as an elderly person or a person with pre-existing medical conditions, unless that person consents.

It will be possible for foreign nationals with close families to Canada to come for 14 days or less, but they must prove that their reason for coming is not discretionary and that they can comply with quarantine.

“To be clear, the immediate family exemption does not mean that the border will now be open to weekend travelers or those who simply wish to attend a personal or social gathering. For people traveling from abroad, they must always have a valid visa or an electronic trip. Authorization, “said Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino.

“The purpose of this measure is not to allow people to come and go to Canada when they want to, but rather to help Canadian families reunite during this unprecedented period,” he said. .

In making the announcement first, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored lingering health and safety concerns about reigniting a second wave of COVID-19 by letting people in from abroad, and warned against severe penalties if the rules were not followed.

“All of this is difficult and frustrating, and longer than we hoped to be in many ways, but at the same time we know the cost of returning to social isolation, to returning to isolation because of a massive resurgence is not whoever anyone wants to endure, which is why we are very careful in the future, “said Trudeau.

Almost three full months since the spread of the new coronavirus was declared a global pandemic and a series of border and travel restrictions have been put in place, this is the first step the federal government has taken to soften the rules.

Mendicino has pledged that the government will closely monitor the effects of this new exemption and said the decision to grant the allowance was made in collaboration with public health experts and the provinces and territories.

“COVID-19 remains a concern and we must continue to take border measures that are necessary to expand it, and the measures today represent a progressive, responsible and thoughtful response to that goal,” said Mendicino.

In a news release, the CBSA said the new exemption will be in effect at 11:59 p.m. June 8. EDT. The current border measures will remain in effect, including denying entry to anyone who has signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone entering Canada will need to provide their contact information to a border official, so that the Public Health Agency of Canada can follow up to ensure that the rules of the Quarantine Act are being followed.

Immediate families of temporary residents in Canada, such as those on a student or work visa, are not eligible to enter under this policy.

TRAVEL MEASURES IN PLACE

On March 17, Canada announced that it was closing the border for international travelers, especially non-Canadian citizens, except permanent residents, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, diplomats and air crews. These initial restrictions did not apply to American citizens.

Although a few days later, on March 21, Canada and the United States closed their common border to all non-essential or “discretionary” travel. This agreement to restrict tourism and other visitors has been extended every month since, with the current extension effective until June 21 at least. The agreement, in its current form, exempts the flow of trade and commerce, as well as vital health workers such as nurses who live and work on both sides of the border.

On May 29, Trudeau indicated for the first time that the government is considering possible changes to the Canada Border Services Agency directives to allow families from across Canada and the United States to reunite.

“It is an incredibly difficult time to be separated from a spouse, child, mom or dad. We hear it, “said Trudeau on Monday.

UPDATE OF AID MEASURES

In his address to Rideau Cottage on Monday morning, Trudeau also spoke of the existing direct financial assistance programs that have been deployed in recent months to offset the economic and social impacts of the national closings.

The two largest were the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which more than 8.4 million Canadians claimed, for a total of $ 43.5 billion; and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which more than 195,500 employers have applied for, receiving $ 9.3 billion to help cover 2.5 million employee wages. Smaller offers were also made to targeted sectors and segments of the population, such as students, the elderly and people with disabilities.

On Monday, Trudeau promised that work would continue with the provinces and territories on the additional assistance needed as each region gradually reopens, such as personal protective equipment, child care, public transit, paid sick leave and additional assistance for at-risk populations.

“There is no doubt that the past few months have been more difficult than anyone would have expected. This pandemic has presented different challenges for everyone, but no matter who you are, and no matter what you are facing, a little help can make all the difference, “said Trudeau.

The massive spending – quickly passed through abbreviated emergency House of Commons sittings – prompted opposition parties to demand full cost accounting to date and the overall impact COVID-19 has had on the economy considering the damage to world markets.

To date, the government has said that there are too many uncertainties left to propose a specific budget or an economic update.



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