The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. The Canadian Armed Forces is deploying reconnaissance teams to the border as the federal government prepares to enlist the military’s help in screening travellers for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que., Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. The Canadian Armed Forces is deploying reconnaissance teams to the border as the federal government prepares to enlist the military’s help in screening travellers for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Military deploys recon teams to border as feds prepare border-testing sites

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is now looking at setting up testing sites at 16 border crossings

The Canadian Armed Forces is deploying reconnaissance teams to the border as the federal government prepares to enlist the military’s help in establishing COVID-19 screening centres for travellers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last week that all non-essential travellers arriving at the border by land will be tested starting Feb. 22 before they are allowed to enter the country.

Travellers will still be required to quarantine for 14 days, after which they will be tested again.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is now looking at setting up testing sites at 16 border crossings with the U.S. with assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces and other federal departments.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says that military assistance includes sending some service members to different sites to help with planning and logistics.

“In co-ordination with PHAC and Public Safety, CAF planners from regional joint task forces are assisting in the assessment of options, in some cases through on-the-ground assistance in reconnaissance, related to planning and logistics,” she said in an email.

The preparations come amid ongoing discussions among the Canadian Armed Forces and various federal departments around the exact nature of the assistance that the military will provide in staffing those testing sites.

However, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s spokeswoman Mary-Liz Power said the military “is not currently planned to undertake any role related to testing, quarantine, or enforcement at the border.”

The government announced the plan for the new border controls last month, but how they will work, who might be exempted and how the rules will be enforced were only laid out on Friday.

The Canadian military has been called upon several times throughout the pandemic, including by providing assistance last spring at long-term care facilities struggling with COVID-19 and, more recently, in the distribution of vaccines.

READ MORE: New rules in effect for travellers entering Canada at land border crossings

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

Remi Drolet
Rossland skier competes at World Nordic ski championship

Remi Drolet was selected to Team Canada and will race at the 2021 FIS World Nordic Ski Championships

Sylvain Fabi, Canada’s chief negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, joined a number of government and Indigenous government stakeholders for a virtual town hall on Feb. 24, 2021, to update the state of the Columbia River Treaty negotiations. Trevor Crawley photo/Zoom screenshot
Indigenous input key to Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Ecosystem function included in negotiations along with flood management and power generation priorities

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Bryan Adams with his mom, Jane Adams Clark, at Lions Gate Hospital. (Bryan Adams)
Bryan Adams gives shout out to North Shore hospital

The singer’s mom was in Lions Gate Hospital for care

Most Read