VANCOUVER (CityNews) — A viral Facebook post alleging Americans are exploiting a loophole to cross the border has caught the attention of the prime minister and B.C.’s minister of health.
The Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all non-essential travel, but there are exceptions, including Americans cutting through Canada to reach Alaska.
The Facebook post accuses a family from Texas of using the loophole to cross the border and take a vacation in Banff.
Even if Banff was a legitimate stop on the way to Alaska, the family is also accused of failing to follow instructions given to anyone crossing the border into Canada.
In addition to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, a handout asks people entering Canada under this exemption to stay in their vehicles as much as possible, and to avoid hotels and restaurants.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he’s heard the concerns raised about this post.
“We’ve heard those reports over the last few days and are looking into them,” he said. “As we continue the conversation with Americans and are shifting and adjusting in certain ways, we need to ensure we’re doing everything necessary to keep Canadians safe at this important time.”
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix had some advice for any Americans thinking of trying to use the exception to sneak in a vacation.
“If people are misleading people at the border there can very likely be consequences for that, and I would advise anyone even contemplating such a thing to give their head a shake and not do it,” he said.
But Dix also said he doesn’t think many people are being deceitful in order to get into Canada.
“I suspect not many, and if they do so they perhaps don’t fully understand the risk they take in misleading people.”
#FYI @adriandix says concerns about American tourists in #BC is a federal issue, but “If people are misleading people at the border, there can very likely be consequences for that and I would advise anyone even contemplating such a thing to give their head a shake and not do it.”
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) June 16, 2020
Immigration lawyer Alex Stojicevic explained the Canada Border Services Agency can easily confirm whether or not someone plans to go to Alaska.
“Presumably you’ve got a place you’ve booked, you’ve got rental receipts, you’ve got something. Ultimately the border can simply not let them in. They can say I’m not satisfied your purpose for coming here to Canada is what you say it is,” he explains.
The Canada-U.S. border closure is in effect until June 21 — but it has been reported the restriction will likely be extended.
With files from Lisa Steacy