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 puppy stolen from a West Kelowna residence has been reunited with its family. (Kelowna RCMP)
Stolen puppy reunited with West Kelowna family

A happy ending; puppy stolen from West Kelowna vehicle found in Kelowna, returned to family

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Kelowna’s top cop removing barriers for women in the force

Kara Triance’s journey to becoming a police chief was not without its challenges

Ella Lamourexu. (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna’s drag story

Ella Lamourexu explains the history behind drag in Kelowna

Pixabay.com
Kelowna Capital News presents Women in Business: 2021

Editor’s note on this year’s Women in Business

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society released a video on Feb. 22, 2021 promoting agriculture and food production in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap. (SAEDS image)
New video promotes Salmon Arm staples of agriculture, food production

Three-minute video from economic development featuring local producers receives appreciative reviews

One person was extricated from a vehicle that rolled off Highway 97 Feb. 25, 2021, near Clerke Road in Coldstream around 2 p.m. (Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star)
Two hurt in Highway 97 rollover south of Vernon

Ambulance transfers two patients with non-life-threatening injuries

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Veteran Vernon radio announcer Frank Martina is returning to the local airwaves with his popular Saturday Classics show, which will run from 1-4 p.m. on Vernon’s new community station Valley FM, set to launch in the fall of 2021. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon radio announcer returning to airwaves

New community station Valley FM reaches deal with Frank Martina to air his Classics show

Most Read