BRIAN MASSE STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE CONCERNS BY THE WINDSOR-ESSEX COUNTY HEALTH UNIT ON EBOLA AT THE CANADA-US BORDER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                              OCTOBER 17, 2014

 BRIAN MASSE STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE CONCERNS ADDRESSED BY THE WINDSOR-ESSEX COUNTY HEALTH UNIT ON EBOLA AT THE CANADA-US BORDER

 “The Official Opposition has been working diligently to ensure that the Minister of Health and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are prepared and informing Canadians about the procedures in place to protect them against the potential threat of Ebola.  Our Health Critic Libby Davies MP (Vancouver East) has had briefings from the PHAC, and has been raising issues of concern to ensure Canadians are properly safeguarded from a potential outbreak. 

 Further, and from what I understand regarding the land border crossings, Customs Officers are meant to receive training on spotting potentially ill travelers, and have authority to quarantine anyone that is suspected of having travelled to one of the affected areas if there is suspicion of infection. If a traveler lies to the CBSA officers about being in one of the affected regions or knowingly come in contact with an Ebola infected patient, they can face fines of up to $300,000 plus jail time under the Quarantine Act for knowingly misrepresenting themselves.  Ultimately, it is going to be safer for everyone to just tell the truth about their travels when crossing at land borders and potentially face quarantine rather than infect others.  But given the 21-day incubation period, with an average of eight to 10 days where symptoms present, we need to ensure measures are being put in place to follow-up with even those travelers presenting as asymptomatic at the time of entering Canada, to ensure symptoms have not later presented, because it’s at that time they become infectious.

 The NDP will continue pressing the government to put those follow-up measures in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians. We will also continue to oppose any reductions of support or services to our Customs officers and we expect the government to provide these frontline workers with the proper and safe working conditions to conduct their duties.”

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 For more Information: brian.masse@parl.gc.ca or 519-255-1631