The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the United States appears to have backed off on its plan to send soldiers to the Canada-U.S. border. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

There has been a large dip in the number of people crossing into Canada after non-essential travel was banned, Canada Border Services Agency figures show.

Data provided to Black Press Media Tuesday (April 7) showed that both air travel and non-essential border crossing traffic dipped by more than 90 per cent compared to the year before.

This comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau closed Canada’s border to non-U.S. travel on March 16 and then shut the American border to non-essential travel on March 21 as part of an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Commercial travel, as well as essential workers, were not affected by the travel ban.

As of Tuesday, Canada has had 17,063 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and 345 deaths. Non-essential travellers entering into the country were first asked, and then mandated, to quarantine for 14 days.

The agency said there were 96 per cent fewer non-commercial travellers coming in at land crossings during the week of March 30 to April 5, 2020, compared to the same week the year prior. Although commercial truck traffic has not been banned, that too saw a decrease of 29 per cent for the first week of April. In 2019, that week saw 112,001 truck drivers enter the country while in 2020, that dropped to 79,616.

In the first week of April 2019, a total of 873,844 non-commercial drivers entered Canada. This year, 46,360 entered during the same week, registering a 95 per cent drop.

Airports saw a big dip, too; in 2019, 820,269 travellers came in during the first week of April while in 2020, the first week of the month saw just 35,577 people enter the country via air. Some of the remaining air travel into the country is related to the repatriation of Canadians from abroad.

When the crisis began, Trudeau said there were roughly three million Canadians abroad and that not all of them could be brought home. As of Tuesday, Global Affairs Canada said there are 372,726 Canadians registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service. Registration is voluntary, however, so Global Affairs said it is not an accurate count of Canadians abroad.

In an email to Black Press Media, Global Affairs said 893 loans totalling $2.9 million have been paid out as part of a program that provides up to $5,000 in loans to Canadians trying to get home. An additional 1,800 loan applications are currently being processed.

READ MORE: CBSA seizes 106kg of meth from Mexico at Tsawwassen examination facility

READ MORE: Canada now mandating all returning travellers to quarantine: Freeland

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border closing to non-essential travel

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils emergency fund to help Canadians stuck abroad due to COVID-19

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Blaze takes commercial building in Louis Creek Industrial Park

Firefighters, paramedics and RCMP from Barriere and Chu Chua were on scene

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Bear sightings continue in District of Clearwater

One bear was seen taking a lounge in a resident’s backyard

Orange Shirt Day

To the Editor, Since May, 2013, in British Columbia when Orange Shirt… Continue reading

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read