Marlane Jones thought she was doing the right thing by crossing the border to buy gas from the United States
Instead, his 10-minute trip ended in a $ 5,700 fine and the reprimand of Canadian agents at the Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey, BC.
“I was in tears. I was a little scared. I didn’t know what would happen to me,” said the 68-year-old.
Jones said he decided to gasify in Blaine, Wash State, after seeing news of Ottawa accepting an exception allowing British Colombians from flooded areas to make short trips to the U.S. to get gas or essentials without a negative PCR test. COVID-19.
The exemption was introduced to alleviate a shortage of supply due to the recent extreme rains that washed away highways and railways in southwest BC, and Bill Blair, the emergency preparedness minister, announced it on Sunday.
But border agents with Jones on Monday didn’t know about it.
“[The agent] was quite harsh and said I broke [Quarantine] Work because I didn’t have a PCR test. I told him [the regulation] was exchanged, but he didn’t buy it, ”Jones said.
Jones said, after he was sent to the Border Patrol, the agents there gave him two options: accept a hefty fine or turn around and go back to the state of Washington for a PCR test and a possible 72-hour wait for results.
“They also said I was the ninth person they had bought a ticket for early in the morning. I said they might have to watch TV and see what we’re told.”
On Tuesday, Blair admitted there was confusion around the release.
“That direction was given to the border services and there was a clear need for clarification. But now it has been given,” he said.
He said the Canadian Public Health Agency, which monitors quarantine violations, is investigating cases of people who have been wrongly fined.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) said there could be a transition period that “could lead to some inconsistencies” when the Code of Conduct is changed.
“We are working to ensure this is clearly applied at the border,” the CBSA said in a statement to CBC News.
Jones said it is surprising that the border authorities were not aware of the exception, especially since it was widely covered by news organizations.
In the meantime, he has gone to the Surrey Courthouse to file a ticket dispute and hopes to get the fine lifted.
“No one has officially called me and told me my ticket has bounced,” he said. “I think the proof will come when I go to pay for my insurance in January.”
The CBSA reminds people that the BC exemption does not apply to discretionary, non-essential travel.
“This means that travelers who come to the U.S. to buy non-essentials or eat at restaurants, visit friends, or attend events are considered discretionary and are not exempt from molecular requirements. [PCR] test, “the agency said.