A Canada Border Services Agency officer walks to a primary inspection booth at the Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday February 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A Canada Border Services Agency officer walks to a primary inspection booth at the Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday February 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Blaine parent, who regularly crosses border, questions policy calling for kids’ quarantine

MP Findlay to raise concerns of South Surrey essential worker with minister

A Canadian man who lives in Blaine, Wash., and commutes to South Surrey for work, bringing with him his home-schooled children, is asking for clarity on border quarantine exemptions after being told his kids would have to isolate for 14 days unless they attend a Canadian school.

Dean Berkeley, who has been deemed an essential worker, routinely makes the trip north with his children. His kids, aged 10, 14, and 18, are home-schooled and have been doing their homework in Berkeley’s South Surrey office while he works.

Berkeley said since March he’s been crossing the border with his children without issue. However, last Friday, he was sent to secondary inspection, where an employee with the Public Health Agency of Canada told him that if he were to cross with his children, his kids would have to quarantine for 14 days.

Further, Berkeley said, the PHAC employee told him that his children would only be exempt from mandatory quarantine if they enrolled in a South Surrey or White Rock public school.

“That doesn’t make any damn sense to me,” Berkeley said, adding that he is immunocompromised. “Then they tell me that I can take my children to public school and they wouldn’t have to quarantine? Like, where the hell does that come from?”

Berkeley said putting his kids in public school would defeat the purpose of home-schooling his children, and would put his family at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

RELATED: Canada secures 20M more Pfizer vaccine doses; U.S. border closure extended to Feb. 21

He said he asked the PHAC employee to show him, in writing, the rule that says he cannot bring his juvenile children into his office to work, in seclusion, on their homework. The employee did not provide the related document, he said.

“She couldn’t provide me in writing that I couldn’t do this, so guess what, it doesn’t exist,” Berkeley said, adding that he ultimately crossed the border with his children on Friday and returned to the U.S. after his shift.

“If they want to call the RCMP and visit me in my office, I welcome it. Nobody showed up. I went on with my day and moved on.”

Berkeley said he contacted South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay about his situation.

Findlay told PAN that she looked into the issue and reached out to the Public Health Agency of Canada for clarity.

PHAC provided Findlay and her team the details on group exemptions from quarantine.

“Basically, there’s no mention of children for somebody, like himself, who I understand is an essential worker and is crossing back and forth every day,” Findlay said. “I think, frankly, his unique situation was simply not contemplated in the legislation. The kids don’t come within any of their exemption definitions.”

Findlay said the challenge with making all-encompassing regulations is that some niche situations are not addressed.

“It seems there are always unique circumstances, naturally, that a particular family or a particular person doesn’t fit within. And the rules really aren’t set up for the exemptions, they’re set up for the majority,” Findlay said.

Findlay said her next step will be raising the issue with the minister in charge of the file.

“The only thing we can do is try and plead his unique specific case to the minister who might be willing to give some sort of ministerial exemption. I’m not at all sure of that. That’s our only recourse because the kids don’t come within their definitions.”

Contacted Monday, the PHAC has not yet responded to a request for comment.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CanadaCoronavirusUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
National Police Federation members slam Surrey police transition to Surrey Board of Trade

During virtual meeting, bargaining unit representatives say municipal force ‘not a done deal’

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Pixabay image
Surrey council moves to update city’s telecommunication antennas policy

But councillor says health and safety protocols are nearly 40 years old

Eagle watchers are celebrating the first egg of the season, captured on video in South Surrey. (Hancock Wildlife Foundation photo)
LIVE VIDEO: South Surrey nesting eagles welcome first egg of the season

Parents ‘Sur’ and ‘Res’ to share incubating duties

Boosh Food founder Connie Marples (right) delivers some Boosh Food items to Christine Mohr, CEO of Options Community Services, in December, 2020. Boosh Food has just moved their operations to Cloverdale. (Photo: Moonraker PR)
Boosh Food moves to Cloverdale

‘Plant-based comfort food’ company moving to 65A Avenue

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil planned for Chilliwack mother missing for four weeks

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read