Karen McLeod is a resident of British Columbia, but has been living in Sackville since November, caring for her mother, Dodie, who has dementia. (Submitted)

Karen McLeod is a resident of British Columbia, but has been living in Sackville since November, caring for her mother, Dodie, who has dementia. (Submitted)

‘She needs constant care’: B.C. siblings denied entry at border leaves family in difficult situation

Karen McLeod and her mother are limbo after her siblings were denied entry into the province under a compassionate care exemption to pandemic restrictions

By Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph Journal

Karen McLeod is a resident of British Columbia, but has been living in Sackville since November, caring for her mother, Dodie, who has dementia.

This month, she planned to head home to her seasonal job as a deckhand with B.C. Ferries, while one of her siblings came to New Brunswick to look after their mom. Now, both she and her mother are limbo after her siblings were denied entry into the province under a compassionate care exemption to pandemic restrictions.

“I’m trying to remain calm, but I’m quite stressed,” McLeod said.

“I really don’t know what I’ll do. If I have to stay I will,” she said, while acknowledging that may have consequences to her job in B.C.

McLeod came to New Brunswick, her childhood home, last fall to care for both her parents. Her mother, 89, can no longer live alone. Her father, who died in February, was a resident of the Drew Nursing Home. When pandemic restrictions closed care homes to the public, she got a housekeeping job at the Drew so she could continue to physically care for her father, a decision she’s glad she made.

The plan was for her to stay in New Brunswick until spring, when one of her siblings would take over, McLeod said. But the government has denied entry to both of her siblings, who are also not New Brunswick residents, even if they follow all required isolation procedures.

When the compassionate care request was denied, McLeod called the province and/or wrote to the travel registration email listed by the government, every advocacy organization she could think of and the Red Cross. She then wrote to multiple ministers and politicians, outlining why she was appealing the decision and seeking their response. As of Wednesday at noon, she had received responses from Sackville-Tantramar MLA Megan Mitton as well as Green Party Leader David Coon. But the denial remained in place.

McLeod said she was told by border personnel that entry might be possible if one of her siblings was willing to come to the province for three months straight, but given their work schedules, the family planned to have one sibling come for June and another to take over in July, she said.

This Times & Transcript asked the Department of Public Safety to clarify this policy, but they did not respond by press time.

While her mother receives some home care, it isn’t the 24-hour care she needs, McLeod said. The family has looked into hiring a caregiver, but has had difficulty finding someone available to provide this type of service in the area, and she fears her mom may be disoriented having people in her home she doesn’t recognize.

“She needs constant care,” McLeod said, noting leaving her alone overnight is not an option.

Mitton said after government tightened restrictions on compassionate care, she is too often seeing cases where one of her constituents’ care is in jeopardy. “We don’t have an excess of care and home-care workers in our community,” she said, adding this was the case even before the pandemic.

McLeod said she does not see how denials like her family experienced align with the province’s “Home First” strategy which promotes providing care to seniors in their own homes as the most appropriate and cost-effective solution.

Mitton said she has been advocating since January for the province to look at compassionate care exemptions and make changes so noone is cut off from their care support, but few exemptions have been. She said she is seeing cases similar to this every week and her community is particularly suffering given how many people in the region usually receive care from someone on the other side of the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border who are being told they cannot cross unless their relative has died or is palliative.

Coreen Enos, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said an appeal process does exist. “In cases where travel registration is denied, there is a process available to have the traveller’s application to travel into New Brunswick reviewed. Travellers must reach out by email at TravelRegistration.EnregistrementVoyage↕gnb.ca or call 1-833-948-2800.”

That has not yet resulted in a change for McLeod. Enos said she could not comment on specific cases.

Social workers through the department of Social Development are available for families to explore care options whether that be in a long-term care or home care options, said Enos.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

border agencyCoronavirus

Just Posted

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

Surrey Libraries will host a series of free contests and programs for teenagers this summer. (Malin Jordan photo)
Surrey Libraries offering series of free summer programs for teens

Writing contests, virtual programs scheduled throughout summer

Emergency crews responded to a large truck fire under the Alex Fraser Bridge around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Christine Tobias/Twitter photo)
Dog dies in truck fire under Alex Fraser Bridge

No people were injured in blaze that consumed two semi-trucks around 8:20 p.m. on Thursday, June 17

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Most Read