U.S.-Canada border reopening to offer some relief for separated families

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The decision by the United States to soon reopen its border with Canada to fully vaccinated travelers is set to offer some relief to people with family or partners on the opposite side of the border, but one advocacy group To say that more needs to be done to help those who live apart.

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Shannon Allen has spent most of the 19 months since the pandemic began at home in Scarborough, Ont., on the east end of Toronto.

With the US-Canada land border closed to non-essential travel since March 2020, visits with his US partner, William Newton, were cut short.


“I had a breakdown in the parking lot of a grocery store one day because I felt like I had no control over any aspect of my life,” she said while standing with her dog Bailey in Toronto’s Canoe Landing Park.

He said his mother’s recent death from a non-COVID-19 illness, and the loss of his long-term job, heightened that sentiment.

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“How do you find the motivation to get up and push when you feel like the things you’re working toward can be so easily taken away from you?” she asked, wiping away tears.

Speaking via Zoom from his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, Newton said it was difficult not to be able to comfort his partner straight away.

“I couldn’t be there to support him and it was really hard on me,” he said.

The White House confirmed to Granthshala News on Friday that it will reopen its land borders to fully vaccinated leisure travelers from Canada and Mexico from November 8, following a similar move by Canada to US travelers. , which took effect in August.

Newton said that development has given him some relief.

“It’s nice to know we can meet in Detroit for dinner,” he said.

While the reopening of the land border is likely to benefit families and partners separated between the two countries, David Edward-Oi Poon, founder of the family reunification group face of advocacySaid other issues remain.

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“In terms of family separation related to COVID, we are soon nearing the end of that phase, although this does not mean that it is the end of family separation.

Poon pointed to problems that could arise at the border, such as guards who may not fully understand the rules that determine who is fully vaccinated and therefore acceptable. .

The pandemic has highlighted other issues related to bureaucracy and family integration that have existed for years but have only recently been felt by North Americans, Poon explained, calling for an ombudsman to be appointed to oversee the matter.

“It’s just exposed, like many things with COVID, the systemic inequalities and problems that have been going on for a long time.”

The US Centers for Disease Control clarified late Friday that mixed doses of vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization will be accepted for international travelers.

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