The governments of the United States of America and Canada have both agreed to restrict non-essential travel across their shared border as they try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Canadian citizens and permanent residents will still be allowed through the US Canada border.
TRUMP TWEETS CLOSURE, TRUDEAU ANNOUNCES CLOSURE IN DAILY PRESS CONFERENCE
President Donald Trump tweeted the closure, followed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who held a press conference outside his official residence.
Trudeau, who is still currently in self-isolation, said that both American and Canadian travellers will no longer be allowed to cross the border for recreation and tourism.
Trudeau said at the press conference that the closure will last indefinitely.
“These measures will last in place as long as we feel they need to last,” he said. “In both our countries, we’re encouraging people to stay home. We’re telling our citizens not to visit their neighbours if they don’t absolutely have to.”
GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE OVER CAD$82 BILLION TO HELP CANADIANS
During the press conference, Trudeau also announced an CAD$82 billion aid package to help Canadians during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The official date of the closure will be announced soon.
Both the US and Canada have agreed to maintain the supply chains that provide food, fuel and medical supplies for both Americans and Canadians.
“Supply chains, including trucking, will not be affected by this new measure,” Trudeau assured. “Canadians and Americans cross the border every day to do essential work, or for other urgent reasons — that will not be impacted.”
CANADIAN CITIZENS AND PERMANENT RESIDENTS WILL STILL BE ALLOWED ENTRY INTO CANADA
Canadian citizens will be able to return to Canada, even those those already exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Canadians crossing from the US at a land border will be screened for COVID-19 coronavirus symptoms. Those already exhibiting symptoms will be allowed in Canada, but will be referred to the appropriate public health authorities for treatment.
All major border crossings at the US-Canada border will be staffed by Canada Border Services Officers (CBSA) officers who will provide masks and other medical supplies to returning Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
Minister for Public Safety Bill Blair said that Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross the border: “We know there are very many Canadians who are presently in the United States and are very quickly making their way home, and I want to assure them all, Canadians will always be allowed to return to Canada.”
CANADA’S EMERGENCY ACT
Trudeau has not ruled out placing restrictions on domestic travel, saying that the Government of Canada is continuing to look at new measures as required.
Also on the table is invoking the Emergencies Act, which would allow the Government of Canada to declare a public welfare emergency, empowering it to place restrictions on travel, as well as allowing it to requisition and use private property.
The Emergencies Act also allows the government to regulate the distribution of goods, as well as to order Canadians to provide essential services.
The Government of Canada still has to consult with the provincial and territorial governments and get parliamentary approval before proceeding.
The act, which replaced the old War Measures Act, has never been invoked. The last time the War Measures Act was invoked was by Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in 1970.
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