As of midnight on Monday, April 19, the Quebec/Ontario border will be closed to interprovincial travel for the foreseeable future. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the border closure last week "in order to limit the transmission of the variants of concern."
Here's what you need to know if you're planning on crossing into Ontario any time soon.
Other than essential travel such as "work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights," Quebecers won't be allowed to enter Ontario.
According to the Ontario Provincial Police, "every person entering Ontario from Quebec at any point along the border shall stop when instructed to do so by an enforcement official."
Ontario Regulation 293/21 also states that "the person entering Ontario shall provide any available identification or documentation requested by the enforcement official and answer any questions asked by the enforcement official to determine whether the person is complying."
What is considered "essential travel?"
Ontario has provided an extensive list of what is considered "essential travel" under this new mandate.
These exceptions include:
- the person’s principal residence is in Ontario;
- the person is moving to Ontario in order to make their principal residence in Ontario;
- the person is travelling through Ontario without unnecessary stops to reach their principal residence in another jurisdiction;
- the person is travelling into or through Ontario by means of an international or interprovincial bus, train, ferry, or flight;
- the person is travelling to perform work in Ontario;
- the person is transporting goods into or through Ontario as part of the operation of a business that involves the transportation of goods;
- the person’s health makes it necessary to travel into Ontario to obtain health care or social services;
- the person is travelling in a vehicle that is transporting or that will transport a person in Ontario to or from a hospital or health care facility in Manitoba or Quebec;
- the person is being transported from a hospital or health care facility in Manitoba or Quebec, whether by ambulance or by any other means;
- the person must enter Ontario to exercise custody or access rights contained in an agreement;
- the person must enter Ontario to comply with an order contained in a decision or judgment of a court or tribunal, or as otherwise required by law;
- the person is travelling into Ontario for the purpose of exercising an Aboriginal or treaty right as recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982;
- travel for the purpose of, preventing injury or illness to persons, preventing damage to property, or performing a necessary action to respond to the critical incident;
- if the travel is necessary for a humanitarian or compassionate reason, such as, providing care or services to a person who requires them due to their state of health, attending on a person who is dying, or attending a funeral.
What did the governments have to say about it?
On Friday, Quebec deputy premier Geneviève Guilbault wrote on Twitter that "the propagation of variants must be limited" and that closing the border is "a matter of security."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that Ontario wants to "get ahead of the variants that are plaguing western Canada."
Will I be fined or arrested if I try to get into Ontario without an "essential" reason?
There are no hard rules about this as the OPP will be patrolling the border and turning away anyone who doesn't comply with the rules.
According to regulations, "a person who is directed to return to Manitoba or Quebec shall promptly comply with the direction of the enforcement official."
This article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.