Land Border Hotels
Date: March 10, 2021
Fully releasable (ATIP)? Yes
Branch / Agency: CBSA
- The CBSA supports the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in the administration of the public health border measures.
- In all modes of entry, we have put in place strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID and its variants through international travel.
- While Canada has seen a decrease in the number of international travellers since COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in to place, and new pre-departure testing requirements will continue to reduce public health risk, the risk of importation of a more transmissible variant is too high.
- There are logistical differences associated with our different ports of entry and different modes of travel.
- In air mode, for instance, the vast majority of travellers have been funneled to four airports, compared to travel by land mode where travellers may seek entry through over 100 land ports of entry.
- The use of government approved accommodations in land mode would be extremely complex and in some cases, unattainable given the vast geography of the land border. Further, in some areas, there is limited hotel infrastructure in the proximity of the border to allow for compliance.
- The large majority (90%) of the travel at the land border is for essential reasons. In addition, travellers entering Canada at one of our land ports of entry typically do so by private conveyance.
- Travellers arriving by land will continue to be required to go directly to their place of quarantine, and information, including contact information and a suitable quarantine plan will be required digitally.
- Travellers arriving by land are also required to report symptoms daily to PHAC, and are subject to compliance monitoring and enforcement. Those who do not travel directly to their place of quarantine may face fines which are also be enforced by PHAC.
- All enforcement and monitoring related to public health measures including those at the border falls to PHAC and local law enforcement authorities.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) designed and developed the requirement for travellers to remain at a government approved accommodation for up to three nights, or until the traveller received a negative COVID-19 molecular test result.
When developing the program, PHAC was focused on implementing the measures in air mode given the potential for exposure in general as well as due to the risk that related variants may pose.
When the regime was in development, there were discussions related to the implementation of a government approved accommodation program in land mode, however, given the unique considerations of the land mode, including the number of ports of entry as well as infrastructure in the proximity of the border, implementing a similar regime was found to not be sustainable or possible in the short term.
Further, in land mode, approximately 7% of travellers are subject to the requirement to quarantine, compared to 91% of travellers in air mode.
Finally, the existing infrastructure related to designated quarantine facilities is extremely limited.
Of the 24 land POEs where PHAC has a presence, 7 have a designated quarantine facility (DQF) within ~100km and 17 do not currently have a DQF within ~100km. In order to ensure a DQF is located within ~100km of one of the 24 POEs, PHAC would need to designate DQFs in 13 additional cities.
Of all land POEs, 20 have a DQF within ~100km and 95 do not currently have a DQF within ~100km. In order to ensure a DQF is located within ~100km of a POE, PHAC would need to designate DQFs in 30 additional cities.
Approved by: Denis Vinette, Vice-President, Travellers Branch
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