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Coronavirus: Can I cross the U.S.-Canada border to pick up a new Vancouver police dog?

Last Updated Aug 4, 2020 at 11:48 am PDT

FILE - A litter of puppies born at the Police Dog Services Training Centre in 2020. (Courtesy RCMP)
Summary

Transit cop should call port of entry before attempting border crossing

Gray-area travel scenarios are up to border officers' discretion

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Question:

Gordon: “I am [the sergeant] in charge of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Canine Unit and we typically get our dogs from a broker in Custer, Washington. Question: would I be considered an essential service and be permitted to cross the border to go select a dog for the unit?”

Answer:

The ban on non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada bars tourists and casual visitors from crossing the land border.

But the U.S. does make exemptions for permanent residents, people who work in the U.S., emergency responders supporting American officials, and others.

There are no clear guidelines, however, for Gordon’s situation.

Like with other scenarios in the gray area between essential and non-essential travel, Jason Givens, a U.S. Customs and Border Control spokesperson, said it’s ultimately up to the individual border agent at Gordon’s chosen port of entry to decide whether he can cross.

Givens recommended Gordon call the port of entry ahead of time to discuss his reasons for crossing the border.

If he does attempt to cross the border, Givens said Gordon should bring documentation with him proving the reason for his trip. Then it will be a judgment call by the border patrol agent that determines whether he can go pick up a new police dog.

If Gordon does cross the border, he will need to self-isolate for 14 days when he returns to Canada.

The border restrictions are set to remain in place until at least Aug. 21, but could be extended further.

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