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CBSA says no exceptions for anyone at the border


August 18, 2021
By Canadian Press

Aug. 18, 2021 – The Canadian Border Services Agency will not make exceptions nor apply any exceptions for Indigenous people crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada after the border was reopened to tourism and non-essential travel earlier this month.

A Canadian Border and Security Agency (CSBA) senior spokesperson Rebecca Purdy confirmed that not much has changed with respect to the border for either Indigenous or non-Indigenous travellers.

“The exemptions for cross border workers and essential services with regards to COVID-19 applied to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act equally and remain in place,” she said.

Earlier this month, the federal government put in place a number of measures that must be satisfied before a traveller is allowed into Canada from the United States. The traveller must be fully vaccinated: to be considered fully vaccinated, a traveller must have received the full series of a vaccine—or combination of vaccine—accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.

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Currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). The traveller be residing in and travelling from the U.S.; must have a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the U.S. (antigen tests are not accepted); be asymptomatic; submit their mandatory information via ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination in English or French; be admissible under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and, take a test on arrival, if required.

Essential workers have been crossing the U.S.-Canada border with regularity since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, but all had to endure mandatory quarantining upon their arrival in either Canada or the U.S.

The CBSA said that it bears mentioning in the wake of weekend reports about some Quebecers attempting to defraud the vaccination proof system that any attempt to mislead CSBA agents about their vaccination status can be very harshly punished. A person who submits false information on vaccination status could be liable to a fine of up to $750,000 and/or six months imprisonment, or both, under the Quarantine Act, or prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery. Violating any quarantine or isolation instructions provided to travellers by a screening officer or quarantine officer when entering Canada is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to a $5,000 fine for each day of non-compliance or for each offence committed, or more serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. Non-compliant air travellers may also be subject to fines of up to $5,000 for each offence committed under the Aeronautics Act.