Montreal

Quebecers heading to the Magdalen Islands could still find themselves stopped at the border

Travellers headed to the Magdalen Islands will have to fill out a form in order to drive through New Brunswick and P.E.I. to catch the ferry — but officers at the border reserve the right to turn them away.

Travellers must fill out a form proving their need to drive through the Atlantic provinces

Quebecers who want to catch the C.T.M.A. Vacancier ferry to travel to the Magdalen Islands will have to fill out a mandatory self-declaration form and present it to officers stationed at the provincial border in New Brunswick and on Prince Edward Island. (Radio-Canada/Lisa-Marie Bélanger)

Quebecers who are hoping to drive to the Magdalen Islands in the coming weeks will have to fill out a mandatory self-declaration form to be able to travel through the Atlantic provinces.

The new procedure means travellers headed for the ferry in Souris, P.E.I., will have to print out the document and present it to officers at the border in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Travellers will also need to show their reservation for the CTMA ferry or documents showing they have a valid reason to travel.

The form also requires people to agree"not to stop for food, sleep, or sightseeing on the way" in either province.

Until now, Quebecers were being encouraged to call a toll free number, 1-866-601-8772, to receive authorization from the public health authority for the Gaspé and Magdalen Islands region before hitting the road.

That service will no longer be available after June 6. 

No guarantee

Filling out the new form does not, however, guarantee people will have the right to travel through New Brunswick and P.E.I.

"Authorities in these provinces make the decision when travellers arrive at checkpoints," the form stipulates.

Travellers must also fall under one of four categories:

  • Essential service workers, including fishing industry workers. 
  • Persons who need to travel for humanitarian or medical reasons.
  • Residents returning to their principal residence.
  • Owners of a second home.

The PQ MNA for the Magdalen Islands, Joël Arseneau, said he is concerned about those restrictions.

With Quebec lifting its own travel restrictions to all regions on May 31, Arseneau said these rules are unfair to islanders.

"We've left these restrictions in place for residents of the Magdalen Islands that other Quebecers will no longer have to deal with," said Arseneau.

The Magdalen Islands' tourism industry is also having a hard time preparing for a gradual reopening, Arseneau said, with so much uncertainty about who will be able to travel to there and when.

New Brunswick only has one active case of COVID-19, after going nearly two weeks without a single new case. The government is maintaining its ban on non-essential travel within the province and is now planning to test truck drivers for COVID-19 when they cross the border from Quebec.

P.E.I. has had 27 cases in total.

With files from Radio-Canada's Isabelle Larose

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