NL Gazette

B.C. woman fined $5,700 at the border says officers as agents were unaware of new travel waiver issued by the Canadian government.

Takeaway Keys:

  • Marlane Jones was fined 10 minutes drive to Washington state for gasoline.
  • Marlane Jones believes she did the right thing when she crossed the border to buy gasoline in the US.

Marlane Jones thought she was doing the right thing across the border to buy gasoline in the United States. 

“I cried. I was a little scared. I didn’t know what would happen,” said a 68-year-old woman. 

Jones after seeing news that Ottawa has granted an exemption to allow British Columbia citizens from flooded areas to travel briefly to the United States in search of gasoline and essentials without a negative COVID 19 PCR test and thus decided to refuel in Blaine, Washington. 

The exemption was introduced on Sunday by Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, introduced to ease supply shortages which were impacted by severe rain which has washed out highways and rail lines of the southwest area of B.C.  

 But the border guards Jones dealt with on Monday didn’t know about it.

“The [agent] was pretty strict and said she wasn’t undergoing the PCR test and therefore violated the quarantine law. She told her that the regulation had changed, She had not purchased it, Jones said. 

Jones said that after she was sent to the border enforcement officials, the agent there gave her two options: either accept a heavy fine or look back and return to Washington for a PCR test, perhaps. Wait 72 hours for the result.

 “They also said that I was the ninth person to receive the ticket early in the morning. Maybe they watched TV and said we should see what we were told.” T

Tuesday, Blair said admitted that there was confusion about the exception. 

“The order was given to the border guards but needed to be clearly clarified, but now it is given,” he said. 

He said the cases of those who could have been inadvertently fined were being considered by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which oversees quarantine violations. 

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) stated that if operational policies change, there may be a transition period that “may cause some inconsistencies.” 

“We are working to ensure a clear application at the border,” the CBSA said in a statement to CBC News. 

Jones said it was surprising that the border guards were unaware of the exception, especially as it was widely advertised by the press.

Meanwhile, she goes to the courthouse in Surrey to raise a ticket dispute and hopes the fine has been overturned. 

“No one officially called me and told me that my ticket had been bounced,” she said. “I believe the proof will come when I will go to pay insurance in January.” 

CBSA, B.C. Exceptions do not apply to voluntary and non-essential trips.

“This is considered discretionary for travelers entering the United States to purchase non-essential items, eat out at restaurants, visit friends, or attend events, and the molecule [PCR]. It means that you are not exempt from the test requirements. “The agency said.

Read More: B.C. woman fined $5,700 at border said agents unaware of new travel exemption issued by Canadian government | CBC News 

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