americans banff

Americans fined more than $1K each for crossing Canadian border to hike in Banff

Americans that have been sneaking little vacations to Canada despite the fact that the border is still closed to non-essential travel are now facing fines for a violation that most of us were unaware was even happening amid the health crisis.

In the past week, the RCMP issued seven tickets of $1,200 each to groups from the U.S. who stopped over for a little romp in Banff National Park by using a loophole that allows people from south of the border to enter Canada if they claim to be en route to Alaska.

Anyone who does not have an essential reason for traveling into Canada — and no, a trip to hike in the Rockies is not considered essential — is supposed to be denied entry by the Canada Border Services Agency. And, anyone who is permitted into the country must quarantine for 14 days or else run the risk of being fined up to $1 million.

Any passenger who gives false information about the purpose or duration of their trip can likewise be steeply fined, or even potentially banned from the country for good.

The fines, six of which were issued after complaints from the public, are for the violation of Alberta's current public health orders.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has spoken out about the incidents, calling the errant travellers "irresponsible" when speaking with the CBC.

But, he added that the federal government has been "largely satisfied that most people follow the requirements that are put in place."

"We cannot guarantee 100 per cent that everybody is going to do it and we are to some extent assuming good faith on the part of people at this point in time," he told the news outlet.

Meanwhile, some Canadians have found their own loophole for defying the border restrictions — namely, the fact that airlines are still running flights to the U.S., and getting in seems concerningly easy.

At the time of publication, the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has soared above 2.3 million, with more than 122,000 deaths so far and numbers continuing to spike across the country as states push forward with reopening.

Lead photo by

Louis Paulin

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