The U.S. and Canadian flags fly atop the Peace Arch at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the border with Canada in Blaine, Wash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Elaine Thompson

Home-school children are not allowed to cross border without quarantine: Public Health

Agency responds to Blaine, Wash., parent after criticism of border policy

Essential workers crossing the U.S. border into Canada are not allowed to bring their home-schooled children with them, unless their children quarantine for 14 days, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has confirmed.

Earlier this week, a Canadian man, who lives in Blaine, Wash., and commutes to South Surrey for work, bringing with him with his home-school children, asked for clarity on border quarantine exemptions after being told his kids would have to isolate for 14 days unless they attend a Canadian school.

When driving into Canada on Feb. 5, Dean Berkeley said a PHAC employee told him that his children would only be exempt from mandatory quarantine if they enrolled in a South Surrey or White Rock public school.

Berkeley said he asked the PHAC employee to show him, in writing, the rule that says he cannot bring his home-schooled juvenile kids into his South Surrey office to do their online classes without quarantine. He said the PHAC employee failed to provide the written rule.

“So guess what, it doesn’t exist,” Berkeley told PAN earlier this week.

Contacted Monday, PHAC responded to PAN Thursday confirming that “there are no exemptions for students who are not enrolled in a listed institution, including children who are home-schooled.”

RELATED: Blaine parent, who regularly crosses border, questions policy calling for kids’ quarantine

“Under this order, all travellers, unless explicitly exempt, are required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival to Canada,” PHAC media advisor André Gagnon wrote to PAN.

“Specific classes of travellers are able to enter Canada and not required to meet the mandatory 14-day quarantine, including essential and cross-border workers.”

Told of PHAC’s response to PAN, Berkeley said, “So be it.”

“If that’s what it turns out to be, well then we will comply,” Berkeley said. “But again, until it’s in writing, it doesn’t happen and it doesn’t exist.”

Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay told PAN earlier this week that she planned to contact Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair and request a letter of exemption for Berkeley’s children.

Berkeley said he’s been in contact with Findlay, and is grateful for her action on the issue.

“That’s what they’re there for. As a Canadian, that’s why I pay my taxes and vote for them. And, like I said, if it boils down to that, the law and that’s the way it’s going to be, then so be it. But it needs to be put out very clear. I am not the person to sit there and have some government official no-name say ‘you can’t do that.’”

In an email, Gagnon said the government recognizes the challenges that are faced by travellers in complying with the border measures, and are sensitive to the issues encountered by those who live in close proximity to the border.

“We continue to monitor international alternatives to quarantine closely and will review the evidence and evolving science, including the role and timing of COVID-19 testing and vaccination in determining the necessity for and appropriate length of mandatory quarantine for persons arriving in Canada,” Gagnon wrote.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CanadaCoronavirusEducationUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Drivers who ignored a speed reader board were pulled over by police in Langley on Feb. 18. (ICBC)
Ignore a speed reader board, get a ticket: some Langley drivers didn’t take the hint

One driver ticketed last week was doing close to double the posted limit

Surrey Mounties says they seized a luxury car, drugs and cash in Newton. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Surrey gang cops seize Alfa Romeo Stelvio, drugs and cash in Newton

This happened in the neighbourhood of 121A Street and 85A Avenue on Feb. 20

Surrey RCMP are looking for information about a hit-and-run on Feb. 13 that they say involved this black BMW sedan. (Photo: Surrey RCMP)
Police search for owner of car after woman hit while walking on sidewalk in Surrey

RCMP say black BMW sedan drove up onto sidewalk and hit pedestrian in Newton on Feb. 13

Members of the public will have a chance to learn about a proposal for three buildings ranging in height from 12 to 24 storeys in Semiahmoo Town Centre. A second virtual information meeting is scheduled for today (Feb. 25) and full details are also available at www.aplinmartin.com/semiahmoo. (First Capital photo rendering)
Public voice concerns about Semiahmoo highrises during virtual meeting

Proposed development could be delayed by ‘marketing philosophy’

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after a news conference at the legislature in Victoria on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. reports 559 new cases of COVID-19, one death

4,677 cases of the virus remain active in the province; 238 people are in hospital

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Wade Dyck with Luna, a dog who went missing near the Chasm for 17 days following a rollover on Feb. 5. (Photo submitted).
Dog missing for 17 days through cold snap reunited with owner in northern B.C.

Family ecstatic to have the Pyrenees-Shepherd cross back home.

Quesnel RCMP confirmed they are investigating a residential break-in at a home on the Barkerville Highway. (File image)
Thieves make off with $300K in Cariboo miner’s retirement gold

Tim Klemen is offering a reward for the return of his gold

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire. Image: The Canadian Press
Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell makes third attempt at bail on sex charges

Maxwell claims she will renounce her U.K. and French citizenships if freed

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds agree people with mental illness should have access to MAID — in 2 years

This is one of a number of changes to Bill C-7 proposed by the government

Most Read