The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has confirmed to True North that unvaccinated illegal border crossings are being allowed at Roxham Road, Quebec.
According to CBSA spokesperson Sandra Boudreau, the Canadian government is accepting asylum and refugee claims “regardless of their vaccination status.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government shut down the illegal Roxham Road crossing over fears that the virus could spread into the country. Last month, it was announced that the crossing would be opened once again to those hoping to enter Canada to submit an asylum or refugee claim.
“Refugee claimants are requested to show proof of vaccination if they have been vaccinated,” said Boudreau. “Unvaccinated individuals will be permitted to enter if making an asylum claim but will be required to follow all COVID-19 public health obligations, including all testing requirements. If they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, they should have a 14-day quarantine plan.”
Upon arrival, asymptomatic claimants who don’t have a quarantine plan will be housed in an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada facility temporarily before being released when the quarantine period is over.
“Throughout the pandemic, regardless of their vaccination status, Canada continued to accept asylum claims made by people who were already inside Canada,” Boudreau explained. “We also accepted asylum claims by people who arrived at designated ports of entry and who met an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement.”
As of Tuesday, unvaccinated Canadians are no longer able to board a plane or passenger train in Canada. Additionally, Canadians hoping to return from abroad must be vaccinated or not show any COVID-19 symptoms. They must also meet other requirements such as quarantines.
The discovery of the Omicron variant has led to additional measures and restrictions. According to a government news release, “”(u)nvaccinated travellers, with right of entry to Canada, will continue to be tested on arrival and day 8 and quarantine for 14 days. However, those arriving by air will now be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility or other suitable location while they await the result of their on arrival test.”
As for whether asylum claimants will be required to undergo testing like the PCR tests, Boudreau told True North that unvaccinated illegal border crossers will still be required to be tested upon arrival.
“Those who qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada may still be required to submit to a mandatory random test upon entry (…) as part of Canada’s border testing surveillance program,” said Boudreau. “Unless exempt, there are no changes to the testing and quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travellers.”
Nearly 60,000 migrants have crossed into Canada illegally, and not through an official port of entry, since February 2017.