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Creston mayor frustrated with border hassles

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Creston’s mayor is frustrated after repeated hassles trying to re-enter Canada from the U.S.

Ron Toyota says he and his wife planned to return home on Nov. 15 after a week long visit south of the border, but were initially not allowed to cross because they had not downloaded and filled out the ArriveCAN app.

“I did not know that such an app or requirement existed and was mandatory and consequently we were denied entry and had to drive back [across the border],” Toyota says.

They downloaded the app, completed it, and proceeded back toward Canada. However, the agent asked for their PCR test results. Toyota said although they had taken the tests nearly three days earlier, the results had not yet arrived by email.

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The agent said although they technically could go through, she would have to contact BC health agencies, who would fine them $3,500 each. Toyota and his wife opted to drive back to Bonners Ferry and stay until they received an email at about 10 p.m. confirming their test results were negative. They then drove to Kingsgate, where Toyota was randomly selected to fill out a COVID collection test.

He says he was given a kit to complete the test and submit it. However, after completing it, he discovered that it had to be sent to a lab in Surrey by Fed-Ex, which does not serve Creston. After some phoning around, he was told a courier would pick it up at town hall. Toyota said he is baffled they do not use Canada Post.

He has since spoken with Canada Border Services to tell them that they need to better communicate their expectations of travellers.

“Nobody’s telling you this stuff,” he says. “You have to figure it all out. That’s where I think it’s a major flaw. The system is just ridiculous and it doesn’t cater to anyone in the rural area.”

Canada Border Services has not responded to Juice FM’s request for an interview, but in an emailed statement, provided the following checklist.

They said all travellers entering Canada must submit their information into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before arrival to Canada, including:

  • pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result;
  • travel and contact information;
  • 14-day travel history;
  • quarantine plan (if required);
  • vaccination information (for fully vaccinated travellers); and
  • COVI-19 symptom self-assessment.

Fully vaccinated travellers, arriving by land or air, who are eligible to enter Canada and who comply with specific criteria are required to complete the mandatory pre-arrival testing but they will not be required to quarantine. Fully vaccinated travellers continue to be subject to random mandatory on arrival testing implemented at select airports and land border crossings.

Travellers who are eligible to enter Canada, but who do not comply with the specified criteria, or who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, must continue to follow pre-arrival, arrival and Day-8 molecular COVID-19 testing requirements, and quarantine for 14 days, unless exempt.

As of Nov. 30, if you are fully vaccinated and re-enter the country within 72 hours of leaving Canada, you will not have to present a pre-entry molecular test. However, all travellers will continue to be required to submit their mandatory information via ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination.

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