Local ports reopen to boaters from USA

EARLIER this month, Norfolk County Council unanimously approved a motion asking the federal government to reopen the port of entry at Port Dover.

The Canadian Border Services Agency closed the port of entry two years ago as a precaution against COVID-19.

When the port remained closed this spring, while other international travel reopened, it caused inconvenience for American boaters, tourists and returning Canadians and hurting local tourism, business and the community.

Last week, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced that, as of May 20, service would resume at most small vessel reporting sites across Canada.

In Port Dover those locations include Port Dover Harbour Marina, Port Dover Channel and Port Dover Yacht Club.

“These changes are part of a phased approach to gradually reopen CBSA sites still affected by the temporary measures put in place as a result of COVID-19,” the news release said.

Local Member of Parliament Leslyn Lewis said “open ports are an essential part of our lakefront communities’ culture, and our economy; and after two long and unpredictable years of COVID restrictions, our local businesses are ready to welcome guests and our communities are ready for the vibrancy, that we all know and love, to return.”

A signature event in Port Dover that many look forward to is the Lake Erie Interclub Cruise sailboat race. However, while the port remained closed, that event could not welcome US boaters with the long-standing sailboat race potentially cancelled as a result of the federal government’s travel restrictions.

“I want to thank the organizers of the Lake Erie Interclub Sailboat Race for being the first to bring this issue to my attention,” said M.P. Lewis.

“From the day they called, my team and I have been in regular contact with the Office of the Minister of Public Safety and with CBSA officials working to see a reopening,” said Dr Lewis.

“I’m proud to announce that, starting May 20, the Canada Border Services Agency has resumed service at most small vessel reporting sites, allowing international visitors to, once again, sail directly into our communities and to enjoy and contribute to local economies.”

Wayne Shorrock, a Port Dover organizer of the Lake Erie Interclub Race committee, said “I am very pleased that my work in conjunction with my MP Leslyn Lewis has resulted in the reopening of the majority of Ports of Entry in Ontario. Our tourism-based businesses have been shuttered far too long and Canadians want to be able to travel freely, whether by car, plane or boat. I look forward to reconnecting with my American friends on the water.”

Key travel tips
  •  All travellers entering Canada by water, must report their arrival to the CBSA without delay. All travellers, including those with a right of entry (Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act), must submit their mandatory information in ArriveCAN before, or when, entering Canada at a marine port of entry.
  • When entering travel details in ArriveCAN, travellers will be prompted to select the port of entry at which they are planning to enter Canada.
  • If the port of entry that a traveller intends to enter at is not available in the drop-down list, users are asked to select any alternative port of entry that is listed. By selecting an available port of entry, travellers will be able to progress to the next screen and successfully complete their ArriveCAN submission. This is a temporary situation until ArriveCAN is updated with the list of all small vessel reporting sites, and it will not stop travellers from entering through any marine reporting sites that have reopened.
  • Travellers should check if they are eligible to enter Canada and if they meet all entry requirements before heading to the border.

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