Canadians with immediate family in the U.S. may soon be able to see them, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday (June 8).
Canada closed its borders in March, first to everyone except Americans and then to the U.S. as well, separating many who live on different sides of the border.
Standing in front of Rideau Cottage, Trudeau said the feds were working on a “limited exemption” that would allow the immediate family of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter the country. They would still be subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
”This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child, or mom and dad,” Trudeau said.
At a later press conference, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino revealed details of the plan. Mendicino said immediate family coming to Canada will need to stay for at least 15 days, so they can quarantine for the 14-day period. Anyone entering the country will still be subject to health checks at the border.
The immediate family exemption will apply to spouses, common-law spouses, dependent children and their dependent children, parents and legal guardians.
Mendicino said people wishing to travel to Canada for social or leisure related reasons will continue to be turned away. Canada is still accepting some international students, foreign workers and permanent residence applicants, and still issuing work and study permits, on a case-by-case basis.
“The purpose of this measure is not to allow people to come and go into Canada whenever they like, but rather to help Canadian families reunite during this unprecedented time,” the immigration minister said.
Chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam dismissed the idea that people entering Canada could simply take a COVID-19 test the day they arrived, and if negative, no longer need to quarantine.
“We know the incubation period is about five to six days, and can be longer than that,” she said. People who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic can test negative despite having contracted the virus.
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