Washington: The federal government is planning stronger measures to deal with a looming influx of people arriving from the United States, a clear sign Canada is bracing for the realities of life after lockdown while living next door to the world’s largest COVID-19 hotspot.
The gradual reopening of businesses and easing of mobility restrictions in both countries will likely mean an increase in cross-border traffic, and with it the need for additional steps to ensure new arrivals are adhering to self-isolation protocols, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
“We are looking at stronger measures to make sure that we’re following up appropriately on people who come over,’’ Trudeau said during his daily briefing outside his Rideau Cottage residence.
“As economic activity starts to ramp up, as restrictions get loosened across countries, it is likely that we see either a few more people returning home or a few more people trying to cross the border, and we need to make sure that the measures we bring forward are going to keep Canadians safe.’’
The mutual bilateral ban on non-essential travel, an agreement that initially went into effect in March and was extended by an additional 30 days last month, is now scheduled to expire May 21. Trudeau would not say whether he expects the restrictions to be extended a second time.
Provincial leaders, in particular Ontario’s Doug Ford, have made it clear they don’t want visitors from the U.S., currently home to more than a million active cases of COVID-19. The disease has killed more than 82,000 Americans, the highest death toll in any single country.
By James McCarten
The Canadian Press