Federal government looking at testing essential workers crossing land border: Blair | CBC News

The federal government is looking into introducing COVID-19 testing for essential workers crossing Canada’s land border, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair mentioned Sunday. 

“We’re working very closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and also with our provincial health authorities to [look] at implementing a system of regular testing to help protect those essential workers and truck drivers that are coming into the country and also to ensure that they’re not the source of any new infection,” Blair mentioned in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.

“That’s separate and apart from the measures that we’re implementing with respect to non-essential travel.”

The minister’s feedback come someday earlier than proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction test — also referred to as a PCR check — might be required for non-essential travellers coming into Canada’s land border. 

The check should be obtained inside 72 hours of arriving at the border, however essential workers — comparable to truckers, emergency service suppliers and people in cross-border communities — are exempt.

‘Compelling and compassionate’ circumstances thought-about

After passing via the land border, travellers should take one other check upon arrival, in addition to a 3rd close to the tip of their 14-day quarantine.

That extra layer of testing comes into impact on Feb. 22, the identical day air passengers touchdown in Canada might be required to quarantine in a hotel — on the traveller’s dime — for as much as 72 hours whereas they wait for his or her PCR check outcomes.

The price of the keep is estimated to be about $2,000 however is determined by the place the traveller is isolating. Passengers might want to guide a lodge within the metropolis wherein they first arrive: both Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto or Montreal. 

Vaccinated Canadians won’t be exempt from the requirement, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned Friday the government must be “thoughtful and compassionate about people who are in extremely difficult situations and absolutely need to travel.”

Blair instructed CBC Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton that there’s a diploma of discretion concerned in deciding what constitutes essential journey.

“We also recognize that in all circumstances, there are compelling and compassionate cases that present, and we, in those cases, take the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada and … try to deal with those compelling cases in an appropriate way,” he mentioned. 

Appeal for medical exemption

One Vancouver girl has appealed to PHAC for an exemption to the lodge quarantine rule as a result of she travels to the U.S. for most cancers therapy.

“When I heard the news about that, I was distraught,” Kimberley Muise mentioned in a separate interview with Barton.

Muise travels to Los Angeles every month to participate in an immunotherapy medical trial to deal with Stage 4 cervical most cancers, and obligatory quarantine paid at the traveller’s expense could be a monetary burden, she mentioned.

WATCH | Cancer affected person travelling to U.S. for therapy seeks exemption from quarantine guidelines:

Kimberley Muise, a B.C. most cancers affected person participating in a medical trial that requires month-to-month journeys to the U.S., mentioned on Rosemary Barton Live she was distraught when she realized of the federal government’s obligatory lodge quarantine requirement. 5:36

Blair mentioned Muise’s case had already been delivered to his consideration by her native member of Parliament and that he was in talks with PHAC and British Columbia’s well being authority about her scenario.

“We want to make sure that that woman can receive her treatment and put in measures that can protect her, protect her family and protect her community, but also deal with the exceptional circumstances that that woman is experiencing in an appropriate way” he mentioned. 

“It’s comforting to know that my message has been received, but it took quite a lot of work to get there,” Muise mentioned in response to Blair’s remarks. 

The public security minister inspired Canadians in search of readability on their private scenario to succeed in out to his workplace, their native MP or PHAC if they’ve additional questions. 

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