Family reunification should be accepted as essential travel

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2020-05-27 13:52

My next question will be for Minister Blair, but as an aside, I will say that last answer completely fails to meet the legal requirements of the Paris Agreement to file a new target this year.
To save some time, Minister Blair, let’s pretend to go back to the questions from my colleague MP Paul-Hus and to your last answer. This is dealt with on a case-by-case basis by CBSA agents. There are thousands of them. They are exercising personal, subjective judgment. This is not acceptable.

I’m begging the minister. Could the minister please put out a directive, advice to every CBSA agent on the ground, that when a non-status entry point sees a non-status direct relative—husband, wife, child of a Canadian citizen—that relative be deemed to be entering Canada for an essential purpose?

Lib. (ON)
Hon. Bill Blair (Scarborough Southwest)
2020-05-27 13:53

I’d like to thank the member for bringing this issue forward again. It’s an important one.

We have been working very hard to ensure that we do everything possible to keep families together. At the same time, we’ve been working with the provinces and territories, listening to the concerns of Canadians about ensuring that travel across our international border, particularly with the United States, is limited to essential travel. As I’ve indicated, I’ve had a number of important conversations and necessary conversations with our provincial and territorial partners. I believe there is a consensus on the right way forward on this, and we’re working very diligently to put it in place. I want to assure the member opposite that we have given very clear direction to our CBSA officers. I believe our border services officers have been doing an extraordinary job for us in the exercise of their discretion. At the same time, they have been doing the important work of ensuring the health and safety of Canadians at our border.