Border blues

Dear editor,

My initial excitement of seeing international border rules changed was short-lived. Three phone calls have clarified some of my questions.

The statement in last week’s Times stated, “..fully vaccinated travellers will now have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to ………arrival the port of entry).”

A local officer told me the test had to be taken within 24 hours, not a full 24 hours before.

The article continues to explain that the test must be administered by a local lab, health care or entity or service, and be authorized by the country in which it was purchased.

So I mentally work out the details: I can book a test at Shoppers, get my rapid antigen test will be authorized…I can pay the fee in Canadian currency!

I can pack and be ready for my medical trip into Winnipeg, fill out Arrive-Can and once I have that negative test in my hand, head west.

But just to be sure…I phone Canadian Customs in Sprague….in case I missed something.

“Ma’am” he says, “I’m sorry, but the test has to be done in the USA..the country from which you are traveling.”

I spent two weeks with my kids in Illinois at Thanksgiving, and of course I had the molecular test done there before coming home, only the wise thing to do. I do not downplay the seriousness of COVID-19.

“But,” I continue, “I will only be in transit for two hours at most; chances of contracting COVID in my vehicle during that time is pretty slim. Does it make sense to you?”

The only response he was able to give was: “Ma’am, we don’t make the rules; we just enforce them.”

We Border Travellers see “MOM’s WAY” (Manitoba/Ontario/Minnesota) signs along our highways. More than once have I used that route for medical trips.

But apart from that, why are we, on the Canadian side, being forced to pay very costly fees (USA currency) for tests that we can get right here at home at more reasonable fees?

I have left my name and number at two government agencies. Will I get a response? Likely not…unless a few more folks express their concerns too.

I am not suggesting a trip to Ottawa, but maybe a few letters or phone calls can help.

Jacklynne Faragher-Guimond