New website launched to help with border queries

In an effort to help inform tourists before they cross the border into Canada, and hopefully help boost the sagging number of visitors coming through here, partners gathered at the Civic Centre yesterday to launch a new website.
Found at www.canadawelcomesyou.net, this site is dedicated to answering frequently-asked questions—for both tourists and area campowners.
It’s the result of a partnership between the Northwestern Ontario Tourism Association (NWOTA) and Kenora District Camp Owners Association (KDCA), with input from Canada Border Services.
Funding was secured through the Rainy River Future Development Corp.
“We found we need something that’s local, something that we can respond to,” RRFDC economic development officer Geoff Gillon said at yesterday’s launch.
“If it’s a fully federal site, run by the government, the process of putting something on it is complicated,” Gillon explained. “It has to be bilingual, it has to be approved all the way up, and it takes too long.”
“Because this is an independent site, we can put a disclaimer on it saying this information is as accurate as we can possibly make it,” he noted.
“But if something comes up like we’ve had in the past, over potatoes or waxworms or some issue at the border, we’ll be able to put an answer to that question on the website.
“Our hope is we will inform all camp operators that this is available, and if they have any questions, they can come here,” added Gillon. “It will be like the ‘go-to spot’ for somebody when they come to Canada.”
“We hope to move forward with this to address some of the issues that have come in the past. Forearmed is forewarned,” he stressed.
Gillon explained NWOTA and KDCA worked together to compile the most frequently-asked questions regarding border-related issues for the website, then provided the answers with the help of the Canada Border Services Agency.
The website tells those planning to cross the border, or campowners who want to provide answers for their customers who want to do so, what they can bring across, what they can’t, and much more.
Some examples of questions answered on the website include:
•What identification do I need to cross the border?
•I have a minor criminal offence on my record. What should I be concerned about?
•What do I need to bring my firearms into Canada?
•Can I bring a pet?
•What about insurance?
•What food am I allowed to bring into Canada?
•What is prohibited to bring into Canada?
•How much liquor/tobacco can I bring into Canada?
The website also features links to the Canada Border Services Agency home page and info on border wait times, Environment Canada (invasive alien species), and the Ministry of Natural Resources (hunting and fishing regulations), to name a few.

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