Masse calling for rapid COVID-19 testing at Windsor-Detroit border crossings

Windsor West MP Brian Masse near the Ambassador Bridge on April 13, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

The union representing Canadian Border Service Agents in Windsor is calling for the federal government to implement voluntary rapid COVID-19 testing at the land border crossings between Windsor and Detroit.

President of the Customs and Immigration Union Local 18 Ken Turner joined Windsor West MP Brian Masse to request a rapid testing device at the country’s busiest land border in North America.

“I wrote the Public Safety and Health Minister and informed them that the situation in Windsor-Essex, and the high rate of Covid-19 infections on a per capita basis in the area, and the impact the US-Canada border has contributed to this outcome,” said Masse. “The introduction of rapid Covid-19 testing at all our local land border crossings could significantly reduce the public health risks to the residents and border workers by eliminating COVID-19 carriers from crossing the border.”

The federal government purchased the rapid COVID-19 tests in October.

A pilot program underway in Alberta has had over 18,000 individuals tested at the land border. The positivity rate was determined to be 1.45 per cent.

“Windsor is the largest and busiest land border in North America. The Customs and Immigration Union supports rapid testing in the Windsor Region, as well as including Border Services Officers on the list of frontline workers to receive early vaccinations. Windsor is also an essential corridor for the movement of health care workers, medical supplies, and a large part of the economy. If there is a significant outbreak at this border, it would negatively impact the entire country. Early detection and protection are essential in Windsor,” stated Turner.

Land borders between Canada and the United States have been closed to all but essential commercial traffic and cross-border healthcare workers since March 2020.