Several British Colombians were given tickets by border guards this week as they returned from traveling to the United States to buy essential items such as food and fuel, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth confirmed on Tuesday.
Destructive floods and mudslides have closed many major highways and suffocated supply chains in BC, leading to a shortage of fuel and groceries. This week, the BC government said people in border communities could drive to the U.S. to fill up on the essentials and be exempted from the PCR COVID-19 test requirement to return to Canada.
But it does not appear that all border guards have been notified.
“It is my understanding that in some cases British Colombians may have been inadvertently obtained a ticket while traveling for valid and significant reasons, such as access to fuel and food,” Farnworth said in a statement to the Daily Hive.
“I will follow up [federal Public Safety] Minister Bill Blair to inquire about these reported cases of British Colombians who have been given tickets for important trips. Should the trip in these cases prove crucial, I would ask the federal government to resolve this issue as soon as possible. “
Farnworth spoke with Blair earlier this week about allowing people traveling through the United States for essential work or essential purposes back to Canada without a PCR test.
During a news conference Tuesday, Farnworth described the tickets as a “communication problem.”
“As you know, the border is a federal responsibility,” Farnworth said. “My message is that all tickets that have been issued will be revoked.”
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Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy told the Daily Hive she could not comment on individual travelers’ results.
“What I can tell you is that travelers and important workers who have to travel to or through the United States to get to their residence in Canada take short trips to access necessities such as groceries, diapers, infant formula, fuel and medicine. , or ensure that essential services and economic supply chains continue, are exempt from the COVID-19 pre-arrival test, the Canada test and quarantine requirements, ”she said.
PCR tests start at $ 150 CAD, and fines for coming back without one or breaking the quarantine law can be thousands of dollars.
Canadian opinion divided on PCR limit test
A new study from the Angus Reid Institute published Tuesday showed that many Canadians are ready to go past molecular testing at the border. A quarter of respondents said it should remain standard, but the largest group said they would prefer to switch to rapid antigen testing – which is currently used by the United States.
Another quarter of respondents said there should be no testing at all for fully vaccinated travelers.
According to Angus Reid, Canadians who traveled frequently before the pandemic are the most eager to drop restrictions.
The government is relaxing restrictions this month, so fully vaccinated travelers traveling to the United States in less than 72 hours do not have to show a negative PCR test.
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