Kim Zavesky is determined to return to her house in Golden, B.C.

After retiring final 12 months, she and her husband — each Individuals — bought their home in Chandler, Ariz., and moved most of their belongings to their second house in Golden, in southeastern British Columbia.

The plan was to lease a spot in america for the primary a part of the 12 months and spend the remainder of the 12 months in Golden. However then the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential visitors in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, blocking the couple from accessing their Canadian property.

“All my stuff is there, all my documents except for my passport,” Zavesky mentioned. “It’s like not being able to go home.”

Including to her frustration is the truth that, regardless of the border closure, Canadians can nonetheless fly to the usfor leisure journey. That features snowbirds who are currently flocking to the Sunbelt states.

“The unfairness of it really bothers me,” Zavesky mentioned. “Whatever the rules are, I just feel like it should be the same.”

Individuals Kim Zavesky and her husband, Paul, are prohibited from getting into Canada to go to their house in Golden, B.C., below insurance policies the federal authorities put in place after the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential visitors in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Kim Zavesky)

Though Canada and the U.S. agreed to shut their shared border to non-essential journey in the course of the pandemic, they every crafted their very own insurance policies. That has sparked some confusion and frustration as a result of the foundations fluctuate — relying on which border you are crossing.

Political scientist Don Abelson mentioned the completely different guidelines between the 2 nations is not stunning.

“You’re still dealing with two sovereign countries who have jurisdiction over their own border, and they certainly have jurisdiction and responsibility for developing their own policies,” mentioned Abelson, a professor at St. Francis Xavier College in Antigonish, N.S. 

Snowbirds OK to fly south

The Canada-U.S. land border is ready to remain closed till Dec. 21, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implied on Tuesday that the date might be prolonged.

“The [COVID-19] situation in the United States continues to be extremely serious,” he mentioned on CBC Radio’s The Present.

Because the begin of the border closure, the Canadian authorities has barred Individuals from getting into for non-essential journey by all modes of transport.

However whereas the U.S. has barred Canadian travellers from crossing by land, it nonetheless permits them to fly into the nation. The U.S. has declined to tell CBC News why it made this determination, however basically, its air journey restrictions are much less stringent than Canada’s.

Regardless of soaring COVID-19 infections within the U.S., a number of Canadians have taken benefit of the flying exemption, together with snowbirds who’re heading south to flee the Canadian winter.

“No way in hell we’re staying here,” mentioned Claudine Durand of Lachine, Que.

Snowbirds Claudine Durand and her husband, Yvon Laramée, of Lachine, Que., journey to Florida every winter for 2 months. Durand says they’re nonetheless going this 12 months, regardless of the pandemic. (Submitted by Claudine Durand)

If the land border continues to be closed when Durand and her husband head to Florida in late January, they plan to make use of a new service offered by Transport KMC. The Quebec firm flies snowbirds — and transports their autos — throughout the Quebec-New York border.

“Basically, it solves our problem because we want to take our RV down,” Durand mentioned, including that she plans to take all COVID-19 security precautions whereas in Florida.

The federal authorities advises Canadians not to travel abroad for non-essential journey in the course of the pandemic however says it can’t prevent people from leaving.

Those that do should quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Canada.

Household exemptions

Canada and the U.S. even have completely different guidelines for member of the family exemptions.

Following protests from households separated by the border shutdown, the Canadian authorities loosened its travel restrictions in June to permit Individuals with sure instant household in Canada to enter the nation for any purpose by each land and air.

In October, the federal government further widened the exemptions to incorporate extra relations, in addition to {couples} who’ve been collectively for not less than a 12 months.

Conversely, the U.S. presents no exemptions for Canadians crossing into the nation by land to go to household, until they’re tending to a sick relative.

U.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders suggests the U.S. hasn’t bothered to loosen the restrictions because the pandemic drags on as a result of separated relations can nonetheless fly to the nation.

“There’s a huge alternative,” mentioned Saunders, who’s based mostly in Blaine, Wash. “There’s no restrictions on flying.”

WATCH | Some Canadians determine to spend winter in U.S. amid COVID-19:

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping some Canadian snowbirds from heading to the U.S. this winter, however they’re not all keen to take the chance for hotter climate. 2:07

One affected group that has discovered no manner across the federal authorities’s journey restrictions are Individuals who personal property in Canada. A few of them argue they, too, ought to get an exemption to enter the nation.

“I pay [property] taxes. I would more than live by the rules,” mentioned Zavesky, who factors out she has a spot the place she will quarantine for 14 days — her house in Golden, B.C.

Mark Brosch of Atlanta owns a cottage in Muskoka Lakes, Ont. He mentioned he believes he must be allowed to enter Canada so he can verify on a property that has sat vacant for 10 months.

“I get across the border and I go to my cottage and quarantine for 14 days,” he mentioned. “I am less of a risk to the public in Muskoka than the people that travel back and forth from Toronto every weekend.”

Mark and Sandra Brosch of Atlanta are proven at their cottage in Muskoka Lakes, Ont., throughout a earlier summer time. This 12 months, the American couple cannot go to their property because of the border shutdown. (Submitted by Mark Brosch)

When requested about property house owners, the Public Well being Company of Canada advised CBC Information in an e-mail that U.S. guests can be allowed to re-enter Canada when it is deemed secure to take action.

“Travel into Canada for tourism and recreation purposes is currently prohibited, regardless of the ability of the traveller to quarantine for the full 14 days upon arrival,” spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau mentioned. 

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