LIVE

Even though non-essential travel between the two countries has been banned, there are exceptions.

By Alison Fox
August 10, 2020
Advertisement

A new phenomenon has emerged from America’s friendly neighbor to the north as the land border between the U.S. and Canada remains closed: Concerned Canadian citizens keeping an eye out for U.S. plates.

The move comes as most non-essential travel into Canada from the U.S. has been cut off, but there are exceptions, leading to some American license plates across the northern border. Ultimately, that has also led to scrutiny by Canadians as to whether the vehicles are in the country legally or not.

However, while many non-essential drivers have been turned away at the borders, The New York Times reported, some have gotten through and nine tickets were issued in Banff National Park in Alberta in June. Besides tickets, Canadians are bemoaning the situation with the federal police force reporting 53 complaints concerning international license plates from June 17 to June 29, and another 121 complaints recorded from July 1 through July 28.

Bluewater Bridge
Credit: Mark Spowart/Getty Images

To address the situation, John Horgan, the premier of British Columbia, had a gentle reminder for those (legally) driving to Canada with American plates who may be worried:  “With respect to those who have offshore plates and are feeling harassed, I would suggest perhaps public transit. I would suggest that they get their plates changed. I would suggest that they ride a bike.”

Anyone who does enter Canada by air, land, or sea is required to quarantine for 14 days, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. And those who take advantage of the loophole allowing them to drive through Canada to Alaska are only allowed to enter at certain border crossings and are required to display a “hang-tag” during the trip, the Canada Border Services Agency noted.

"There's a high degree of certainty in British Columbia that we want to keep our borders closed until neighbouring jurisdictions get a better handle on COVID-19,” Horgan said, according to the CBC. “I think that those who are overtly declaring by their licence plates that they've come from somewhere else should be mindful of that and act accordingly."