Montreal

Quebec to close border to Ontario, as Ontario does the same

Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault says the province will be closed to travellers coming in from Ontario. Her announcement, made on Twitter Friday, comes just after Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his province is closed as well.

Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault announced decision on Twitter Friday, calling it a matter of safety

Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault says discussions are underway with Ontario. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault says the province will be closed to travellers coming in from Ontario starting Monday.

Her announcement, made on Twitter Friday, comes just after Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his province is closed as well.

"We are in discussions with the Ontario government to determine the terms," Guilbault said.

"The propagation of variants must be limited. It's a matter of safety."

Ford said checkpoints will soon appear at Ontario's borders with Quebec and Manitoba as part of the province's ongoing attempt to manage the severity of the pandemic's third wave.

For those headed to Ontario, exceptions will include people going to work, seeking medical care, transporting goods and exercising Indigenous treaty rights.

"Should an individual not have a valid reason to enter Ontario, they will be turned back," said Health Minister Christine Elliott during Friday's news conference.

"These are tough but necessary measures to help us overcome this health crisis."

Earlier Friday, the Parti Québécois called on Premier François Legault  to also close the Quebec border, considering the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

PQ health critic Joël Arseneau urged the premier to not "stand idly by" but instead to "impose your leadership."

Soon after Guilbault announced Quebec's decision to close its border as well, Legault took to Twitter to say he will be working closely with Ford and the Ontario government "to keep our citizens safe. Variants have no boundaries. We are all working together to break this third wave."

A similar restriction was put in place last spring when the Quebec government implemented checkpoints on bridge and ferry crossings across the Ottawa River, during the pandemic's first wave.

Quebec reported 1,527 new cases on Friday and seven more deaths whereas Ontario reported a new record daily count of 4,812 COVID-19 cases.

with files from La Presse canadienne

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