People are getting crafty to get across the border. On Monday, June 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that a new loophole that's reportedly getting Americans into Canada is going to be investigated by the government. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's top doctor, also said that she will be following up on reports of the "Alaska loophole."
Under the Alaska loophole, Americans have reportedly been able to cross the border by telling crossing officials that they're driving up to Alaska rather than vacationing in Canada. People can legally cross the border if they are returning home to Alaska, not just visiting Alaska.
On June 12, a report emerged that a Texas family was vacationing in Banff, Alberta after allegedly having used this tactic. As per a local woman's Facebook post, there was another group from Seattle that did the same.
Trudeau took to address these reports in a press conference on Monday, June 15, after a member of the media called in to inquire about it.
"Obviously, we've heard those reports over the past few days and are looking into them," said the Prime Minister.
"I think as we continue our conversations with the Americans, as we look at adjusting or shifting our posture in certain ways, we need to make sure we’re able to apply the rules consistently and that we’re doing everything necessary to keep Canadians safe at this important time," he said.
On the same day, Alberta's officials were also asked in their press conference about the situation.
"We do know that it's possible for people who're driving to their home in Alaska to be able to cross the U.S. border," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
She said that she's been in contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
She's talked to the agencies about being very clear about what is required to cross the Canada-U.S. border legally.
Dr. Hinshaw addressed the report about the Texas family in Banff, saying, "I’ll be following up with conversations with my counterparts at the Public Health Agency of Canada."
She also said, "I don’t have information to indicate this is a significant number of people crossing the border."
In an email sent to Narcity, a CBSA representative Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr said that if a border official has doubts about a traveller's purpose, the traveller will be asked to prove it.
Gadbois-St-Cyr told us that travellers who are let into the country for the purpose of returning home to Alaska are advised to follow rules, such as remaining in the vehicle as much as possible, avoid staying at a hotel, using a drive-thru to get food, and social distancing whenever stopping.
"In all port of entry cases, the final decision is made by a Canada Border Services Agency officer, based on the information available to them at time of processing," said the representative.