TORONTO — The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to travellers for more than half a year now, but thousands of Americans don’t seem to be getting the message.
Another 3,441 travellers from the U.S. were rejected from entering Canada over the last month, according to new figures from the Canada Border Services Agency.
Between March 22 and Oct. 2, 22,414 foreign nationals have been rejected from entering Canada by land, air and waterways, 87 per cent of them Americans. The other 13 per cent were citizens of other countries trying to enter Canada via the U.S.
Most travellers were rejected as they tried to enter the country by land or waterways, with tourism and sightseeing cited as a top reason for being turned away. Recreation and shopping were also among the reasons travellers were blocked from entry.
Despite the border restrictions, thousands of travellers — the majority of them Canadians — continue to travel internationally to and from Canada. Between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, the CBSA recorded 54,934 travellers by air, 66 per cent of whom were Canadian. That’s a 92-per-cent drop from the travel volume the same time in 2019.
Truck drivers entering Canada are up one per cent from this time last year. No measures have been put in place to restrict commercial shipping over the border as trucks are a main conduit for food and medical supplies.
Non-essential travel to Canada continues to be banned, but the federal government recently unveiled plans to ease restrictions to allow more extended family members into Canada on compassionate grounds, as well as allowing international students to enter the country under certain criteria.
As of Thursday, extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, including those in an exclusive dating relationship of at least one year and their dependent children, as well as adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents can come to Canada.
Long-term but unmarried couples who do not share an address will need to provide a notarized declaration about their relationship.
Also able to enter the country as of Oct. 8 are non-relative foreign nationals under compassionate reasons in specific circumstances, such as a close friend experiencing a life-threatening illness, critical injury or death, with the potential for limited release from quarantine to visit the injured or dying loved one.
Anyone who re-enters Canada must quarantine for 14 days. While many countries have reopened travel to Canadians, the federal government has advised against all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.
With files from Rachel Aiello and Alexandra Mae Jones
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