Canada's prime minister said the country is exploring on easing restrictions that currently prevent some close family members from crossing the U.S. border into Canada.
Since mid-March, Canada has had special immigration, visa, and travel measures in place due to Covid-19 pandemic. In association with it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is considering lightening travel barriers that currently prohibit some people from crossing the U.S. border to reach Canada to reunite with their families. Trudeau made the remarks to the Canadian public on Friday, May 29, during his daily briefing on coronavirus.
Canada – United States border was first closed to non-essential travel by mutual agreement on Saturday 20 March as both countries were trying to reduce COVID-19 spread.
Initially, travel restrictions were put in effect for 30 days but have since been extended on two occasions, the most recent extension announced on May 20.
Among those exempted from travel, restrictions are essential workers and immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who travel to Canada for non-discretionary purposes as long as said family members.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has given guidelines on how non-discretionary travel should be described. CBSA declines the entry of the immediate family into Canada if it finds the objective of the trip not necessary.
Trudeau acknowledged the daunting existence of the family constraints during his remarks and said he has the hope to seek a resolution.
He noted, however, that relaxing travel restrictions is a cause of concern among the provinces of Canada, with whom he has consulted with provincial premiers on 28th May evening
on this issue.
Some Premiers expressed openness to relaxing travel rules for families on the grounds of compassion, according to the Prime Minister, whereas other Premiers felt that doing so would make efforts to contain COVID-19 more difficult.
Trudeau concluded by saying the federal and provincial governments will continue to discuss this issue while keeping Canadians' health and security at the centre of the final decision being made.