OPEN Canada’s Borders to Extended Families/Visitors in September … IF They Isolate on Arrival

It’s time … or at least soon will be. Canada can’t keep its borders closed to extended family members, friends and visitors for years.

We need to start allowing entry of those from other countries in September, not just essential workers and immediate family relatives … if they are willing to isolate themselves here after arrival for a period designated by the Public Health Officials.

There is no valid reason to keep out ANYONE now ready, willing, able to isolate on arrival as required.

Of course I understand, and share, many Canadians’ disagreement, dislike and even disgust with US President Donald Trump. And I want the Canadian government … and Canadian consumers/shoppers … to retaliate against his latest attack on our country with new totally unjustifiable aluminum tariffs.

However, that is no reason to punish or hold hostage innocent American or Canadian citizens/families/friends … many of whom share our revulsion of Trump.

What a lot of people don’t realize is Canada’s border has already been opened to more than truckers, essential workers and diplomats.

Indeed, even visitors are already allowed … IF they are immediate family: dependent children, spouses, common-law partners, parents, step-parents, guardians of Canadians or even permanent residents … AND agree to isolate for 14 days on arrival.

You can read the whole list here:

And that has overall worked very well for those who have qualified and self-isolated on arrival.

Time to expand the allowable list.

Let’s keep it real: Covid-19 will continue to be an infectious risk around the world for years and there is NO country, NO population that in the foreseeable future will be CLEAR of Covid.

So we must learn to live with it … and widen the list of those who can come here to well more than just immediate family… if they isolate.

That would still exclude day trippers, weekend or even week-long tourists: allowing entry to ONLY those planning to stay here for two weeks or more.

It’s time.

Canada cannot, and should not, ban extended family members/relatives/events/friends/tourists from other countries for many months more or years.

Canada’s bubble is ready to start growing.

The psychological impact on people separated long-term from so many family members, partners, friends for months or years more would be unnecessarily stressful and harmful.

And the fiscal damage to Canada’s economy ( business services, retail sales, equipment supply and services, high tech development, hospitality industry, hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel, tourism etc. etc.) is already enormous.

Readers of this Blog know how I called on Canada in the past to keep the borders closed as we fought the pandemic:

It worked. And now our Covid levels are down enough to start welcoming SOME others again.

There are millions of responsible people in many countries, even the US (they’re not all as stupid as some we see on TV), who have addressed Covid as responsibly as most Canadians, taking precautions, wearing masks, self-distancing … and are clear of Covid.

If they agree to follow our rules, isolate at their own expense on arrival as health officials prescribe, there is no good reason to keep them out for months, or years more.

Keeping Canada closed for many months more, barring even those willing to isolate on arrival, at this advanced stage of the pandemic fight, will just hurt many families/people/relationships and cost the country many BILLIONS of dollars in employment, growth, revenues.

Of course, there are those who just think we should keep almost everything closed everywhere and especially keep out Americans.

And yet, I suspect many of those same people probably also want Canada to provide more free housing for the homeless, more subsidized rental housing for the poor, more improved social, health and hospital services for everyone, including remote communities, more increased public spending on health/safety equipment/supplies, more CERB, Business, Student, Rental support programs … and, of course, more spending on clean air, water and all kinds of environmental projects.

Where do they think the money/revenues/taxes come from to fund all of that? .

We need to open up our economy and our country to the outside world … slowly, carefully … and that includes opening our borders again to those willing to follow our rules and show that they are Covid-free.

Harv Oberfeld

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11 Responses to OPEN Canada’s Borders to Extended Families/Visitors in September … IF They Isolate on Arrival

  1. nonconfidencevote says:

    Unfortunately we aren’t out of the wood work yet.
    Fall and Winter are coming as are the return of flu infections.
    IF people are willing to self isolate for two weeks then they should be allowed to visit/stay.
    Let’s also not forget the “Bantustan” of conflicting provincial rules and regs.
    What is a law here may be totally different in another Province.
    Eastern Canada has seen a flurry of US License plates as Americans return to their Canadian cottages and self isolate.

    Lets see if we are so welcoming if Covid comes back with a vengeance this Dec.

    (Response: International Borders are federal jurisdiction: entry rules should be consistent across the country. The virus will no doubt ebb and flow for another year or more … but if we are at Stage Three recovery, time to apply the same rules to everyone: not one rule for immediate family members from anywhere in the world; yet still have discriminatory rules totally barring others, like extended family relatives or friends, if they are willing to follow our rules/isolation protocols. h.o)

  2. D. M. Johnston says:

    On the news last night, the opinion from medical authorities, based on studies and data, saw the incubation period for Covid-19 up to 19 days.

    This means the 14 day isolation period is not adequate and maybe we should impose a 21 day period, to be safe.

    The GOP and Trump have failed any sort of test with Covid-19 and the disease is rampant in the USA, uncontrolled. It is an insidious disease and those having it and maybe not so sick with it, still, will have long term effects of Covid-19, including lung and heart problems.

    American exceptionalism has made the USA reject any sort of sane program to deal with covid-19 as politicians don’t give a damn about the daily death count, now past 165,000 and that does not include the tens of thousands of homeless who just die and disposed of without any sort of medical intervention.

    There is no disagreement that the economy must open up, but international travel, especially from the USA, er, NO!

    Until there is a handle on this disease, until we know a lot more about Covid-19, its time to err on the safe side.

    Come to Canada, isolate for 21 days at a designated facility.

    By October, electoral turmoil in the USA will make Covid 19 a sideshow and we will be happy because the boarders will still be closed.

    (Response: September or October … no problem; and IF Public Health officials rule a 21 day isolation period FOR EVERYONE coming into the country is need, instead of 14 days, so be it. But it’s just unfair to say, at Stage THREE recovery levels, to one Canadian, YOUR immediate family members can come in and isolate, but to another, YOUR extended family members or close friends willing to do the very same cannot. That’s discrimination. h.o)

  3. Marge says:

    As someone who has close family ties on the other side of the border, I am of mixed opinion. I have a granddaughter in Washington State who has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound. Her chances would be extremely high for becoming seriously ill were she to contract COVID nor would I want to expose her to it. So even though technically I could have gone south and visited and self quarantined, I have chosen to not do so. Instead we have used technology such as Echo Show to communicate (We can even play cards together so great fun as well!). Although it is not the same as actual visits, I am learning to adapt although on some days I feel very low and depressed because I can not see family in person.

    On the other hand I am conflicted and wonder what number is safe and whether it would be just as well to open the borders and let things play out. Our numbers are growing here in BC due to the belief by selfish young people that they are indeed not vulnerable to any disease, no matter what its effects may be or potentially could be. We should not be so sanctimonious that BC is now safe and secure. So with numbers growing here and in the US, may be we should just let things play out as our senior homes appear to be better looked after now and the younger group seem more resilient to the disease. Maybe mandate all wear face masks and open up the border. Or how long are we prepared to leave it closed? Not sure if I really want to know the answer

    (Response: Notice I am now calling for … or suggesting …the border will or should be totally open like it used to be. BUT if people (extended family members, friends, business investors, long-term travellers) are willing and able to quarantine with family or friends or in other approved arrangements for whatever period health officials require , and do so successfully, why refuse them that right! They will not be a Covid threat anymore than those already allowed in under similar controls now, which seem to be working very well. We just can’t keep the world out forever…. at least not the civilized part. h.o)

  4. nonconfidencevote says:

    I googled the YVR Flight arrivals today.
    6 from China
    6 from the US
    4 from Germany
    1 from Japan
    Plus a multitude of flights from all over Canada.

    Who”s checking that these International flights are self quarantining?
    The govt?
    That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    (Response: Apparently they are. I’ve heard stories of quarantined people being phoned day AND night, just to make sure they are where they are supposed to be; also agents (police/border/immigration officials?) being spotted outside homes etc. And if admission to Canada comes with a signed document/contract providing penalties that anyone violating the rules faced immediate deportation and a five year ban from Canada (like the Americans have long imposed so often on Canadians who violate border rules), I think you’d find the compliance would be very, very high. The Covid pandemic, even in reduced terms, will be with us for years: we can’t shut our country from the rest of the world …especially family, friends, business etc. … and keep up our current standards of living and publicly financed services for that long. h.o)

  5. max avelli says:

    I have said it before, and I will say it again: your recent rants are increasingly detached from reality.

    In the first place, how many visitors to Canada (BC or otherwise — and know that different provinces have different levels of problems) can quarantine for at least 14 days. About 1%, maybe. That is not how most vacations work. Who keeps track of them. Are you seriously wanting to rely on the “honour system”? As I said, detached from reality.

    Second, you appear to rely on things being “at this advanced stage of the pandemic fight…”.. Seriously??!! Not even halftime. I didn’t know you were a world renowned epidemiologist. I don’t think any of them think that this is at an “advanced stage”. We already see a resurgence, and we are not even into the fall/winter when the 2nd wave is expected.

    Just a terrible opinion.

    (Response: In early June, when no one else was paying attention and I kept carping over the Park Board’s Stanley Park vehicle ban disgrace, YOU’RE the one who wrote: “Get over it. You have beaten this dead horse before, over and over again”. Now, the issue is all over the radio almost every day; the roadway has been partially opened to vehicles; 25,000 people have signed a petition calling for FULL car access to the park; and, the BC organization representing the disabled has appealed directly to the board to restore FULL access and has also been on tv appealing for cars to be allowed. Sure glad I … and the rest of those who believe in democratic protest and pressure … didn’t listen to you. That “dead” horse has new life! h.o)

  6. nonconfidencevote says:

    ( topic)
    We’re almost at the half way point.
    I figure we’ll be back in full lock down by Christmas with a resurgence of infected Covidiot “deniers”….
    Hopefully Darwinian evolutionary processes will deal with the stubbornly stupid.
    Either way.
    Get ready for worse before it gets better.

    (Response: Yes, the figures are climbing … but hopefully it’s only short-term blip and people will smarten up or start facing charges/fines for flagrantly and substantially violating the rules/health orders. However, note that the “Covidiot deniers” we are having problems with here now are ALL locals …not visitors or foreign immediate family members. So I see no reason why we should continue to ban ALL extended family members/long-term visitors from abroad IF they are ready, willing and able to follow our rules and agree to self isolate for as long as required on arrival to show they are Covid-free. Eventually Canada is going to have to open itself up to people from the rest of the world again … and if we do it carefully and safely, we don’t have to wait until Covid is gone, which may be years … or never! h.o)

  7. Keith says:

    I do agree that we should open up carefully with safeguard protocols in place, however, it should come with consequences for those that do not follow those protocols. We’ve seen the results of stupidity in Kelowna, and using the “going to Alaska” dodge via Port Renfrew et. al.

    E.G. Slovakia.

    Fines in Italy for no face masks.

    Wishy washy Canada.

    As we have all probably seen by now, the Province is hiring contract tracers for the fall. With our slowly rising numbers, are they expecting another wave during cold and flu season.?

    (Response: Noticed today that Europe’s airlines are now calling on Canada to start re-opening: I don’t think we’re anywhere near being ready for a full re-opening; and even in September, I think what we should do is start with a slow easing for those from select other countries who are willing and have the means/arrangements to quarantine when they get here for as long as health officials require. And let’s keep it real: our current Covid uptick problems emanate from our own population … not legal visitors/family members allowed into the country … and mid to late September seems to be developing as the time to start re-opening. h.o)

  8. hawgwash says:

    I can’t even slightly agree with you on this one and at the most basic level; Dr. Bonnie Henry is already expressing concerns over a second, more serious wave coming and overwhelming our hospitals.

    There is an indication that COVID-19 incubation might be longer than 14 days; maybe up three weeks. We don’t know, what we don’t know.

    If one recklessly causes harm to others in the workplace or on the highways, there are consequences. The honor system of self isolation, with even moderate supervision, has proved to not work and we should be learning from others.

    In Victoria state the Government employed “security guards” to supervise quarantined residents returning from overseas. Lax supervision, facilitated breaches, even having sex with detainees, infecting guards, spreading it in their own homes and the community. The pandemic continues to run out of control there.

    New Zealand;
    After over 100 days case free, a family in Auckland had infections of unknown origin and two infected UK sisters visited a dying relative, taking that relative out of quarantine.
    Edited…off topic.)

    (Response: I understand how most people are reacting to the recent uptick in numbers by saying keep the borders shut. But the uptick is entirely because of the actions, foolishness of LOCALS …not anyone who has crossed the border. It’s plain scapegoating … highly discriminatory and damaging to many people/families still being kept apart (six months now) even though they are willing to follow quarantine rules on arrival. That’s already happening in European countries. Notice I didn’t call for that here in August … but I still believe we should start re-opening our border wider to those willing to do so, starting in September, and I expect that may well be the plan. h.o)

  9. hawgwash says:

    “Scapegoating” is a deflection; the bulk of Canadas original cases came from the US prior to the border being closed.

    Foolish locals? Yes, but do you have contact tracing that indicates the virus just spawned in a club, on a beach? Great gobs of it came from Alberta; do you know where the Albertans got it from?

    Ok, so you get your way and the border opens up in September; will you be ready to board a plane for Florida?

    If you do, will you have travel insurance/medical coverage?

    (Response: The virus is here … plain and simple, and will be for another two years or more, because it is spread by people who, knowingly or unknowingly, are passing it to others. That’s how a virus works. I have never called for the border to just be open willy nilly: in fact, in an earlier Blog, at Stage Two recovery, I called for it to remain closed. BUT let’s get real: we are now in Phase Three recovery and it’s time to start re-opening to more people … not everyone, not day trippers, not even weekend or week-long tourists, but there is not a SCIENTIFIC reason at all … NONE … to keep people out who have family/friends/legitimate reasons to come here AND are ready, willing and able to quarantine on arrival for as long as health officials deem necessary …to prove they are Covid-free. Any other rationales, at Stage Three, to keep those people out beyond September is just xenophobia, politics and, yes, in many cases, anti-American bigotry. h.o)

  10. hawgwash says:

    “Not just willy nilly, not everybody.” Well what are the visitors in the title? What are those who are coming to see friends? What are legitimate reasons?

    And what’s with your new normal of name calling?
    Caring and disagreeing with you, is xenophobic bigotry? Do you bless Dr. Henry with that label?

    And you evaded the question about boarding a plane to Florida.

    (Response: Northing wrong with disagreeing … and saying that I feel opposing ANY border reopening is xenophobic is not name calling at all, just stating my opinion of what is now fueling the irrational reactions I still see, despite our being in Phase Three recovery and the safeguards that would accompany my partial re-opening conditions. Visitors are already allowed in …if they are IMMEDIATE family members: time to expand that category to extended families even long-term travelers looking to spend several weeks or months here with friends, families, just travelling around AND willi8ng to isolate on arrival to show they’re clear. Not sure how/why anyone can still justify keeping those people out beyond September, IF they are ready, willing and able to quarantine on arrival. It is just xenophobia, scapegoating! As for my own travel plans, December is still some time away and I certainly don’t like what I see in Florida; but would have no fear of anyone from there coming here for a month or two or three IF they agreed to isolate/quarantine on arrival to prove they’re Covid clear. There is no SCIENTIFIC justifiable reasons to keep those people out … and everyone can see you haven’t come up with even ONE!!! h.o)

  11. hawgwash says:

    Two of your one liners trouble me and lead me to wonder how much you have read on the subject of COVID-19.

    The first is just a rhetorical cheap shot: “in many cases, anti-American bigotry.” Certainly there are those among us who dislike a variety of demographics and not just geographic or ethnic ones. Ageism is alive and well.

    Playing the bigotry card is just plain shallow.

    The other, more troubling comment is; “there is not a SCIENTIFIC reason at all … NONE” and is the one which makes me wonder how much time you have spent on the topic. Is there no science, or is there science you couldn’t (conveniently) find.

    You may believe there is no science to support keeping the border closed but you should at least provide some authoritative and believable data to support your lay opinion. And, keep it real, that’s all it is; an opinion. A reporter’s editorial.

    This article is probably one of the best reads, I have discovered to date. Registering with an email address is required but is worth it, if one is serious about learning more and considering there are some who no more than we do.

    For those afraid to become informed, here are a couple of outtakes:
    “Viewing covid-19 through the lens of SARS can lead to flawed responses. Understanding how the novel coronavirus is different is essential for identifying how society can best confront it.”

    ”The second situation partly characterises the current pandemic. Covid-19 encompasses a range of severity and a variety of symptoms (affecting not just our respiratory system, but also our gastrointestinal and neurological systems in some cases).”

    “Perhaps half of those infected are asymptomatic. Some who fall ill indeed suffer serious long-term health problems. But because, for many, the symptoms resemble a mild cold, there is a tendency for the public and politicians to take it less seriously.”

    “Covid-19 patients take about seven days from infection to show symptoms, but they can spread the disease for 2-4 days before they are symptomatic. In fact, the 1-2 days before symptoms may be when they are most contagious.”

    “Most important is the notion of asymptomatic carriers: the huge share of infected people who show no symptoms but are contagious. A consequence is that a testing programme appropriate for SARS, where people come to medical attention when they feel ill and are infectious is unsuited to the circumstances of covid-19. Since we cannot rely on symptoms to identify cases, testing needs to be widespread and the results returned rapidly if not immediately.”

    So, how do you open the border with the US and prevent Brazilians or people from the other top four from entering? It is not just about the US.

    As I said, we don’t know what we don’t know. So sorry, I will support continued closure until we have a better handle on this virus. I’ll take my lead from the medical and scientific communities, not politicians and journalists.

    ….after composing the above, I read your last response and “IF they agreed to isolate/quarantine on arrival to prove they’re Covid clear” jumped right off the page.
    “Clear is contemporary and we do not yet know enough to be certain of when “clear” happens.

    I’m still not willing to take the risk, for the sake of my family. Or yours.
    If nothing else, at least I’m giving us both something to churn away at and increase the reply count.

    (Response: Don’t you get it??? That’s what QUARANTINES are for!! To contain the virus … especially from asymptomatic carriers. You’re dreaming in technicolour, tinged with I suspect a good deal of xenophobia, if you believe Canada should or will keep our borders closed to everyone from everywhere until Covid 19 is eliminated or down to just a few cases. Get ready: the border will start to reopen … sooner than you will like. h.o)

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