A U.S. billionaire who came to Canada was mistakenly allowed to skip the mandatory two-week quarantine period by the border agency, not the government, says Canada’s public safety minister.
Liz Uihlein, the president of the shipping company Uline, flew to Toronto on August 25 from the U.S. with two other company executives. They didn’t have to follow the two-week mandatory quarantine and visited their warehouse in Milton, Ontario, before leaving on August 26.
According to the CBC, which first reported the story, a Uline spokesperson said the executives had been granted formal exemptions from the quarantine period. Special entry exemptions can come from five high-ranking politicians that include Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.
Blair responded to the story on Thursday, tweeting, “No special entry exemptions were provided to Uline executives, nor were any National Interest Exemptions. This was not a political decision.”
In a follow-up tweet, he said, “A decision was made by officers based on the information provided. Entry should not have been permitted. It is important that Canadians continue to have confidence in the integrity of our border. We are working with the CBSA to ensure that similar cases do not occur again.”
A CBSA spokesperson told the CBC the executives were allowed in because they were mistakenly declared “non-discretionary” travellers—a classification given to people headed to their normal place of work.
“A subsequent review of the information concluded that the travel, in this case, should have been categorized as discretionary and entry denied,” the spokesperson told the national broadcaster.
Uihlein, alongside her husband, has been dubbed the “the most powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of” by the New York Times. The couple is worth more than $4 billion and has given more than $100 million to GOP candidates over the years and are among the republican parties biggest donors. Uihlein has also questioned the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic and pushed back on the regulations put in place to fight it.
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