Confusing COVID border rules creates headaches for manufacturers
Some Canadian manufacturing executives are complaining that the country’s confusing and lopsided exemptions to strict COVID-19 border controls have hurt their sector’s competitiveness just as the country faces weaker growth and a resurgence in new infections.
For example, foreign technicians considered “essential” are being allowed into Canada and not required to quarantine, while Canadian workers returning from doing similar work in the United States have to self-isolate for 14 days.
“It favours more foreign nationals than actual Canadian business people,” said Matt Poirier, director, trade policy for Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.
“The exemptions are a bit scattered,” Poirier said. “It’ll capture some scenarios but not others.”
Border agents need to know the purpose of travel when considering exemptions, said Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) spokeswoman Ashley Lemire. A foreigner entering Canada to provide an essential service is different from a Canadian entering the country to return home.
“Even if they technically have the same jobs, it’s the purpose of travel that is considered, not the profession of the traveller,” Lemire said by email.