More than five million traffic was allowed to skip into Canada A 14-day quarantine is required When the country closed its borders to unnecessary travel in late March, the Canada Border Services Agency estimated.
Data compiled by CBSA at the request of CBC News – shows that more than 80 percent of the 6.5 million people who arrived in Canada between March 31 and November 12 were exempt from the quarantine intended to fight Kovid-19. Pandemic.
Arrival numbers include repeated entries of the same person.
Federal Government Gives passengers an exemption from quarantine When providing services that they consider “necessary”. Exemptions included flight crews and emergency response workers, as well as truck drivers who repeatedly crossed the border.
Truck drivers alone make up about half of those entering Canada.
5.3 million exemptions best estimated
The CBSA counted a total of 5.3 million detention-exempt entries, but said the number was only an estimate because the federal government did not begin tracking everyone in that group until July 31.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHIC) said it had collected CBSA data on detention-exempt travelers crossing the border for statistical purposes before July 31, but only when it had “operational capacity”.
From July 31, PHAC changed its policy and ordered that everyone in the group be tracked so that their contact information could be collected for implementation purposes.
“People who are exempt from federal quarantine must continue to pursue public health measures,” spokesman Tommy Jorby said in an email.
Those actions include wearing masks, social distance and rules prescribed by local health officials.
Epidemiologist Colin Furnace said the government should have tracked all detention-exempt travelers since the border closure began in late March.
“I don’t think we should have COVID on our shores before we think about how to manage our borders,” said Furness, an epidemiologist and professor of infection control at the University of Toronto. “There is just a lack of ination and a lack of preparation.”
The PHAC did not elaborate on why it waited four months for the border to close before starting to collect contact information for quarantine-exempt travelers.
The agency has been collecting contact information for travelers in need of detention since March 31. These include Canadians traveling abroad and foreigners visiting immediate family in Canada.
Over the past seven months, the percentage of COVID-19 cases Connected to international travel According to PHIC it ranged from 0.4 per cent in May to 2.9 per cent in July.
In the last two weeks, Found to have at least one certified COVID-19 case on board on 47 international flights entering Canada.
Exceptions ‘crucial to our economy’
After crossing the border, a large number of workers “critical to our economy and infrastructure” need to be exempted from detention so that they can do their work, Jorby said.
She said only emergency workers who claim they do not have COVID-19 symptoms are allowed to skip detention.
Furnace said he understands why essential workers are excluded from detention, but takes issue with some cases, such as business executives skipping the requirement.
In the last two months, CBC News has uncovered three cases Top executive of a large American or global company Going to Canada for business is exempt from quarantine.
The federal government has vowed that those two exceptions are wrong and will fix the problem. Declined to comment on this The third case Citing the Federal Privacy Act, the global shipping giant has a president of U.S. operations for UPS.
“It’s not acceptable,” Furnace said. “I do not understand why we need business travel. We got zoom. We got internet.”
The pilot is testing the project
Epidemiologist Rev. Dionandan said it only takes one infected traveler to spread.
Professor Dionandan of the University of Ottawa said, “A traveler can show up, attend a church or something like that and then have the opportunity to inspire a great event.”
Both he and Furnace suggest that routine COVID-19 testing of workers in need of crossing the border will help reduce potential risks. The test is not required for any traveler entering Canada.
“If we could catch some positives that way and prevent someone from becoming a spreader, that would be great,” Dionandan said.
PHAC said it was currently exploring the concept Pilot project Provides COVID-19 testing for travelers at two designated border crossings in Alberta.
The agency said it was examining detainees and exempt passengers. Workers who need to cross the border on a daily basis, such as truck drivers, are given a test every three to four weeks.