Advertisement

One year into Canada-U.S. border closures, couples continue to be separated

Winnipegger Jeremy Ernst (left) and his partner Michael Laducer are separated by the Canadian-U.S. border.
Winnipegger Jeremy Ernst (left) and his partner Michael Laducer are separated by the Canadian-U.S. border. Supplied

It’s been one year since international border restrictions came into effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The closure was put in place to keep the novel coronavirus out, but it also kept couples who live on either side of the border separated.

Read more: Love is in the air at Canada-U.S. border as park becomes couples’ lifeline amid COVID-19

Canadian Jeremy Ernst and his American husband Michael Laducer spent the first few years of their relationship making weekend trips to visit each other.

When the border closures came into effect, they waited months until they could be reunited again and now they’re hoping things will ease up soon.

“You only have so much vacation time,” Ernst said.

Story continues below advertisement

Laducer echoed the sentiment.

“We are doing this to show that this pandemic not only takes loved ones’ [lives] but it’s dividing and divided families,” he said.

The couple wishes there was more clarity from the federal government around when border restrictions would ease now that more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Come up with a system and say ‘OK, if you’ve been vaccinated, you can cross, if you have a test you can cross,'” Ernst said.

Click to play video: 'Travellers to get a free COVID-19 PCR test at Toronto’s Pearson Airport' Travellers to get a free COVID-19 PCR test at Toronto’s Pearson Airport
Travellers to get a free COVID-19 PCR test at Toronto’s Pearson Airport – Feb 26, 2021
“It’s great that [the vaccine is] in the higher levels of the population here at 65 and over. My concern is that in the U.S. if they don’t hit that herd immunity at 70 or 80 per cent then it’s not going to go away. We need to come up with a plan. I can only do so much and you can only do so much and if other people choose not to, what can you do? I can’t pose my will on anybody else but I do want to see my husband.”
Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Canada-U.S. border will reopen ‘eventually,’ but more patience needed: Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has waved off suggestions the Canada-U.S border will open any time soon. Last week he said people will have to remain patient.

Ernst and Laducer got married during the pandemic on Sept. 29 — something they always knew would happen but was pushed forward so they could be reunited and have an easier time crossing the border.

“I can’t become an American citizen immediately, he can’t become a Canadian citizen immediately. So it’s like we understood those issues were there before but we can’t even visit each other for a weekend like we’ve done through our whole relationship the past 4.5 years,” Ernst said.

“It’s been a long process, a lot of sad moments. Just wanting to be there for your partner isn’t non-essential to me.”

Click to play video: 'Couple separated by Canada-U.S. border closure gets married to be reunited' Couple separated by Canada-U.S. border closure gets married to be reunited
Couple separated by Canada-U.S. border closure gets married to be reunited – Oct 20, 2020

Laducer recently lost both of his parents to COVID-19 in North Dakota. His 60-year-old father passed away on Christmas Day and his mother passed away shortly after.

Story continues below advertisement

“Jeremy and I got to video-call him and he couldn’t catch his breath, he just couldn’t do it, it was a short conversation and it was the last time we talked to him,” Laducer said.

The couple hopes to be reunited again next in Winnipeg in June but is hopeful there will be easier travel rules on the horizon for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Sponsored content