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Masse calls for tougher measures at Border
By Brian Masse
Member of Parliament

Masse calls for tougher measures at Border

Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development and Auto Critic wrote to the Prime Minister requesting further action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from the state of Michigan which has become an outbreak hotspot. The circumstances in Michigan have become vastly different in just a week and to reduce the danger to Canadians and residents in Windsor and all border communities in similar situations, I am requesting the government to consider additional measures.

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Windsor - Mar. 28, 2020:
Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West), NDP Innovation, Science, Economic Development and Auto Critic wrote to the Prime Minister requesting further action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from the state of Michigan which has become an outbreak hotspot.

“Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing you today due to growing concerns with regards to health care professionals who cross the border daily to work at facilities in areas of the United States which have become COVID-19 pandemic hot spots. The situation has deteriorated since my communication to the your office last week outlining potential issues with returning Canadians crossing the land border between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.

My riding of Windsor West hosts four border crossings including the Ambassador Bridge, the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, the freight railway tunnel and the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry. These facilities provide access to the United States market on a 24/7 basis reaching over $1 billion a day approximating 40 percent of the trade between our two countries. Additionally, with the border controls having been put in place a week ago, restricting crossing to essential workers only including health care professionals which number at over one thousand people who cross the border daily into Michigan, the volume of emails and calls to my office questioning the public health risks have been unprecedented.

The State of Michigan has become an emerging epicenter of the pandemic outbreak with cases climbing into the thousands in just over a week. To highlight the contrasting circumstances the City of Detroit alone, with a metropolitan population size similar to Toronto’s, as of today has more cases than the entire province of Ontario. These case numbers, as you aware, are without the availability of widespread testing. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence directly from frontline health workers in Michigan as well as media reports, display the shortage of medical personal protective equipment is becoming readily apparent.

Local public health authorities trying to reduce the risk of spreading the disease have recommended that health professionals to restrict their work to just one facility. Additionally, some health workers from Michigan who work in Windsor have responsibly chosen to stay in Windsor during the duration of this public health emergency to reduce the chance of spreading the virus.

Accordingly, since the circumstances in Michigan have become vastly different in just a week and to reduce the danger to Canadians and residents in Windsor and all border communities in similar situations, I am requesting the government to consider additional measures. These actions could include potential options such as heightened and expansive daily screening for each health worker, or segregation of returning health workers to designated housing away from their homes, or possibly require health workers who cross the border daily to stay in the United States until public health authorities have alternative solutions.

Every effort must be made to reduce public risk during this outbreak. Healthcare workers in Michigan and in New York are at extreme personal risk of being exposed to the virus and becoming infected and potentially spreading it when they return to Canada. Instituting new protocols or procedures to mitigate and ameliorate this risk is of the utmost importance.

This is a challenging and complex situation but difficult decisions tied with comprehensive disclosure are the best way to strengthen public trust and confidence. This public health emergency requires all Canadians, people, businesses, civil society and all levels of government to work together and engaging in endeavours to make the situation less burdensome on all of us. It is an opportunity to demonstrate unity and perseverance in the face of this crisis.

I appreciate your time and attention to this request. I look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Brian Masse MP

Windsor West NDP Innovation, Science and Economic Development Critic”


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