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New border rules catch families by surprise after trips to Point Roberts

CBSA issue warnings but families could be stranded on the other side of the border the next time
Boundary Bay crossing
Boundary Bay border crossing into Delta B.C. from Point Roberts.

Pre-entry tests no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers coming into Canada wasn’t the only thing that changed as of April 1.

That’s what some Optimist readers alarmingly found out over the weekend after making trips down to Point Roberts with their young children.

Tsawwassen resident Pascal Bajgar arrived at the Boundary Bay crossing with his two kids, ages seven and 10, who both have a single dose of a COVID vaccine. He entered all that information into the ArriveCan app as required.

However, Bajgar had no idea the rules had changed. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children five years of age or older must now provide a valid pre-entry test result at all crossings, even if they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult.

“A warning to Point Roberts crossers with kids over five. Make sure that they have their double doses as the new rules state,” Bajgar wrote to the Optimist. “Our two kids only had one jab. The vigilant Canadian border agents released us with a warning but warned we could have been stuck in Point Roberts for a few days until the testing centre (opens again) on Wednesday.

“The new rule came into effect on (April 1), that’s why we were confused because we had travelled to the Point at least five times previously with the kids with no issues.”

Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce president Brian Calder said he had heard from two more families that were given the same warning after not being aware of the new rules.

One included a Canadian property owner at Crystal Beach whose son has a congenital heart defect and was not vaccinated in fear it may trigger myocarditis. They had been travelling to Point Roberts prior to April 1 with no issues.

“One would think the Canadian border agencies would advise their public of these changes well in advance,” said Calder.

To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller at all Canadian border entries including Boundary Bay, children over the age of five must have received at least 14 calendar days prior to the day of travel at least two doses of a vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel, or a mix of two accepted vaccines, or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In addition, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated youth 12-to-17 years of age must complete the 14-day quarantine, and all testing requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day-8 tests, even when they are accompanied by travellers who qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller.