Land border crossing at Blaine, WA is traditionally one of B.C.’s busiest. (Black Press Media files)

Land border crossing at Blaine, WA is traditionally one of B.C.’s busiest. (Black Press Media files)

B.C. hands COVID-19 border crossing checks back to Ottawa

Provincial screening continues for arriving farm workers

The federal government’s COVID-19 quarantine measures for people arriving from the U.S. and other countries have improved to the point where provincial employees are ending their own border checks as of Saturday, June 20, Premier John Horgan says.

In the early days of the pandemic response in mid-March, Horgan was the first premier to call on Ottawa to “up their game” at border entry points after B.C. health officials began detecting infections from people arriving from the U.S. On April 8, B.C. implemented its own checks at Vancouver International Airport and U.S. land crossings to enforce the federal Quarantine Act requirement for new and returning residents to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Hundreds of provincial staff were assigned to obtain and review written plans, and to direct those without adequate self-isolation preparations to designated facilities. By June 15, 142 people had been housed by the province until they had their preparations made, out of 72,400 passengers checked at YVR and 17 land border entry points to B.C. International flights into Victoria and Kelowna airports were redirected to YVR as of April 9 to include those arrivals in the screening.

MARCH 16: B.C. blasts decision to leave U.S. border open in pandemic

APRIL 8: B.C. imposes quarantine requirements at border crossings

On June 19, Horgan and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth praised the federal government’s improvements in quarantine notification for arrivals, with documented self-isolation plans and a smartphone app that has since been introduced for travellers.

“The evolution of federally led border measures has allowed the B.C. public service to step back from border screenings to best limit the spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia,” Farnworth said.

Temporary foreign workers entering B.C. for seasonal agriculture jobs will continue to be monitored by provincial public health staff, including 14-day isolation before travelling to farms and follow-up phone calls by Service B.C. staff, the province said in its June 19 statement.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

The Gettin’ Higher Choir will be performing alongside Wavelengths Community Choir and special guests during an online concert Jan. 30. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria choirs team up for online concert fundraiser

Valdy among performers for free concert

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Most Read