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Feds allow extended family to enter Canada during pandemic

Last Updated Oct 2, 2020 at 6:32 pm PDT

FILE - Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday June 9, 2020 in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Summary

The federal government announced a new process Friday to allow extended family to enter Canada during the pandemic

Beginning Oct. 8, extended family members of Canadian citizens, permanent residents will be allowed to enter Canada

International students will also be allowed to enter Canada if they follow the quarantine process

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — The federal government announced a new process Friday to allow extended family to enter Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Oct. 8, extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter the country as long as they follow quarantine rules and get authorization.

Until now, there were exemptions made for immediate family members who wanted to come to Canada. Anybody entering the country on these grounds would still have to quarantine for 14 days.

Also, starting Oct. 20, international students will be allowed to enter Canada if they follow the quarantine process and their school has a provincially-approved COVID-19 plan.

Additionally, there will be exemptions for foreign nationals on compassionate grounds, such as terminal illness, end of life, or funerals, and possibly an exemption to the 14-day quarantine rule.

“The travel restrictions we’ve put in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians remain in effect, and we must continue to be disciplined and vigilant in our response to the COVID–19 pandemic. The updates announced today respond to the needs of Canadian families who have been separated from their loved ones by international borders, some of whom are facing the most difficult period of their lives,” says Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino.

The government will increase the use of digital forms and processes to allow critical information to be shared more quickly with provinces and territories.

In a statement, the federal government stresses, “Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and obtained all necessary authorizations to qualify to come to Canada under the new rules.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also says the government will be increasing screening measures at the border, as well as the number of public health officials at the border, and help for health officials to enforce quarantine rules.

“All decisions related to the border are made with the health, safety and security of Canadians as the most important priority. There have been significant impacts for some people as a result of the travel restrictions put in place due to COVID–19, and it’s important that our rules demonstrate compassion,” Blair says.

“We continue to follow the best public health advice to restrict access to Canada while establishing safe procedures for those in exceptional circumstances.”

Every port of entry has 24-hour access to quarantine officer support through the Central Notification System. The presence of federal public health officers at the border is being scaled up over the coming months to cover 36 ports of entry that account for 90 per cent of all traffic into Canada during normal operations.

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A total of 190 public health officials will be deployed across the country by the end of the fiscal year.

To improve information-sharing, the Public Health Agency of Canada has deployed digital portals for travellers to share information, including through the ArriveCAN app, so data can be transmitted to provinces and territories.

Information on who qualifies as an extended family member and the process and requirements to be eligible to travel to and enter Canada will be available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.

The Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Oct. 21.