Surinder Dhillon, his wife Gurinder and their son Zion arrived at their new home in Point Edwards, Nova Scotia on Friday evening after being stranded for days on the Quebec side of the New Brunswick border.
“I have never been homeless, but that feeling was like a punch in the gut. Even if you have a house, you can’t go there.
Dhillon says they sold their home in Shirley, British Columbia, in April after buying a home in Cape Breton.
“We are very relieved,” Gurinder said Saturday afternoon from his new home.
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Dhillon and his family spent four days in a motorhome on the Quebec side of the border after being told by New Brunswick border workers that they could not enter without being cleared by Nova Scotia. The family already had a letter approving their entry into Nova Scotia, as well as the deed of their new home in Cape Breton, but were told they would have to reapply.
“They haven’t been helpful at all,” Dhillon said of the New Brunswick border workers they met on May 10. “They said, ‘We won’t allow you in because of instructions from Nova Scotia.’ Well, let’s talk about Nova Scotia.
The border workers handed them a piece of paper with an email and told them to wait 48 hours. After four days of running out of propane for their RV generator, they decided to take their chances and try again and were passed up.
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“We have decided to take it into our own hands,” Dhillon said. “We have a four-year-old, we can’t just keep him in a motorhome.”
“When we got to the Nova Scotia border, we applauded,” Dhillon said.
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The Dhillons are one of many families who have struggled to enter Nova Scotia over the past week since the province implemented its toughest border measures to date in response to the surge in cases of COVID-19. On May 7, the province announced that it would no longer admit those who move to the province as of 8 a.m. on May 10.
Dhillon said he got a call from his real estate agent with a warning about the changes while in Saskatchewan, about 3,300 miles from the border, with just 42 hours before the border closed.
Nova Scotia ended up relaxing the rules on Monday, May 10, saying anyone who had bought a home and had already been approved could enter. Those who had closing dates of May 20 and earlier could also apply for registration.
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People moving to Nova Scotia are permitted to drive through New Brunswick, provided they have been approved by Nova Scotia.
“Crossing New Brunswick to reach another destination is an approved reason to enter, but of course travelers must register through the travel registration program. And we can’t talk about the Nova Scotia restrictions, ”said Elaine Bell, spokesperson for the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety.
Dhillon says he hopes the situation has been sorted out so other families don’t have to spend days at the border like his.
“I hope no one else will have to go through what we’ve been through,” Dhillon said.
“If you’ve got the paperwork, don’t look back.”
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