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Labrador - Blanc-Sablon Border Patrol Reinstated

LOCAL NEWS – NOVEMBER 26, 2020: Border security returns this morning between L'anse au Clair and Blanc-Sablon

Effective today, Thursday November 26, the entry point for the Southern Labrador border will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to monitor traffic at the border. In an email exchange between CFBS and Newfoundland and Labrador's Premier, Andrew Furey's office, it was stated that based on information from Quebec Public Health, the Labrador-Quebec Border Amendments Special Measures Order of June 26, 2020, remains in effect. This Order is online and can be found here. There are no changes at the Labrador West-Quebec border.

In a Facebook post on Monday by Cartwright/L'anse au Clair MHA, Lisa Dempster-Powell, she stated the following:

"We are continually evaluating the public health measures necessary to protect the people of NL from COVID-19. A border check was in place in Southern Labrador last spring and it is being set up again this week to support compliance with public health measures.

· Travel into Southern Labrador from Blanc-Sablon will be restricted to travel for purposes of work, school, medical or essential retail functions. Individuals entering Labrador will not be required to self isolate if they are entering the province for less than 24 hours. Officers will be stationed at the border 24/7 this week to ensure compliance.

· No changes are occurring for the Labrador West-Fermont region for local residents. As has been the case since late June, individuals who live on Fermont, Wabush or Labrador City may travel within that region without having to self isolate when entering Labrador. Screening at the border will continue to ensure compliance with public health orders.

Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture officials are now on site at the Marine Atlantic terminal in Port aux Basques to screen people arriving in the province. Officers are also located at the Labrador West – Fermont Quebec border and a check point at the Southern Labrador – Blanc Sablon, Que border will be established on Wednesday, pending the snowstorm that is anticipated in Labrador. FFA is working with RNC, RCMP, Canadian Border Services Agency and the Department of Health and Community Services on public health screening at all points of entry throughout the province." - Lisa Dempster-Powell

One of the main questions regarding limiting cross border traffic from Quebec into Labardor is the difference between restrictions at the Blanc-Sablon/L'anse au Clair border and the Fermont/Lab West border.

CFBS has sent an email to Premier Furey's office asking for a statement on why the two border entry points have different restrictions, keeping in mind that in terms of cases, the MRC to which Blanc-Sablon belongs has had 1 confirmed case, but the MRC to which Fermont belongs has had 6 confirmed cases.

As reported yesterday by the Labrador Voice, Jordan Brown, the MHA for Labrador West, is calling upon Premier Andrew Furey to apologize for a comment he made on Monday that incorrectly stated the border between the region and Quebec would be closed, which caused confusion in the region for a few hours.

During the COVID-19 update livestreamed by the government, Furey responded to a question about border restrictions with Quebec by saying there would be no changes to the Labrador City-Fermont border, but restrictions would be placed on the southern border with Quebec near Blanc Sablon.

In a followup question about a scenario where someone worked in Labrador City and lived in Fermont, Furey said the person could apply for an exemption, but otherwise would be required to self-isolate. Brown said it was the contradiction in those remarks that confused him and others in the region.

When contacted by SaltWire Network about the confusion the conflicting statements caused, the Office of the Premier said Furey’s comments about changes to the Atlantic bubble at the Quebec-Labrador border were focused on the southern Labrador border, not the one between Labrador City and Fermont.

Abbygail Wellman

CFBS Journalist

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