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Travel loophole between Canada and U.S. might be closed soon

Canadians have travelled by air to the United States without the restrictions imposed on land border posts. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said the United States failed to place restrictions on incoming international flights. They allowed anyone in – from families making nonessential cross-border visits to snowbirds making their annual trips to warmer climates.

Reportedly, this loophole permitted hundreds of thousands to travel across the border without facing the same restrictions imposed on those crossing at land border posts.

A plea from the Prime Minister

Although the constitution does not give Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the authority to prevent Canadians from travelling across borders, he urged them to avoid unnecessary air travel, both international and domestic. He warned that stricter measures may be put into effect without warning. Such new measures could prevent Canadians who are in the United States from returning to their homes in Canada.

Officials seek more measures

Officials on the Canadian side of the border maintain that stricter measures are necessary to protect Canadians during the pandemic. They have suggested more steps to prevent international arrivals in Canada. Current efforts require those arriving in Canada on international flights to show documented proof of their good health. Also, there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine for new arrivals in the country – with stiff fines for violations. However, officials seek more comprehensive testing, quarantine and enforcement measures. Exceptions exist for essential workers.

To avoid being stranded on the wrong side of the border, British Columbia residents may find it best to seek experienced counsel. The sensible step would be to learn about the most recent restrictions and regulations before travelling south of the border. Preparing ahead can help in avoiding problems later on.