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Alberta and Feds to investigate ‘Alaska loophole’ used to enter Canada

Last Updated Jun 15, 2020 at 8:05 pm MDT

People walk across a street in Banff, Alta., in Banff National Park, Friday, July 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY (660NEWS) — Despite both Canada and America’s agreement to keep border travel limited to trade shipments and essential workers, some reports have surfaced about our neighbours to the south taking a trip to tourist destinations using what’s called the ‘Alaska Loophole.’

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw was asked about the loophole Monday, saying she is in contact with the federal government about the issue.

“I’ll be following up with conversations with my counterparts at the Public Health Agency of Canada,” Hinshaw said.

“I don’t have information to indicate this is a significant number of people crossing the border.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also asked about American tourists getting around the COVID-19 border shutdown, saying the federal government plans to investigate the reports.

“We need to make sure we’re able to apply the rules consistently and that we’re doing everything necessary to keep Canadians safe at this important time,” Trudeau said.

A statement from the Canadian Border Service Agency to 660NEWS last week said American visitors are prohibited from entering Canada for non-essential reasons such as tourism and recreation but are allowed passage if they are heading home to Alaska.

“Healthy, non-symptomatic foreign nationals, travelling through Canada for non-discretionary purposes, such as to return home to Alaska, may transit through Canada,” it says.

“Upon arrival at the port of entry, a traveller seeking to transit through Canada to Alaska will be required to substantiate their purpose for going to Alaska.”

The Canada and U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since mid-March.