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A s I write this report, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of everyone around the world. As the situation develops, policies in Canada, the United States and around the world are constantly changing. On March 21, 2020, a 30-day restriction on all non-essential travel was imposed at the Canada-U.S. border. The restriction limits entry into Canada to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and certain exempted foreign nationals travelling for essential and urgent purposes. While the situation evolves, it is all but certain that these cross-border restrictions on non-essential travel will be extended beyond the initial 30-day period. For those who may still be abroad or are cur- rently in the process of returning home, the situation continues to evolve at a rapid pace. If you are returning to Canada and you have no symptoms of COVID-19, you are required under the Quarantine Act to self-isolate for 14 days. Prior to entering Canada, travellers will be required to provide a credible quar- antine plan. This means that you must be able to self-isolate in a place where you will have no contact with vulnerable people and you will need to confirm that you will have access to basic necessities such as food and medication. In addition, you will be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering while travelling to the place in which you will quarantine. If you do not have an adequate place to self-isolate, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada will designate a facility where you must remain for 14 days. Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines. As new information becomes available, we will continue to provide members with timely updates through our electronic member advisories. We also post our member advisories, in both English and French, on our official website, www.snowbirds.org/ news-releases . As we navigate through the ever-changing cross-border policies resulting fromCOVID- 19, the CSA remains focused on our current and emerging advocacy work. Our most pressing advocacy initiative is our court action against the Ontario government for their termination of emergency out-of-coun- try health coverage. Prior to the program’s elimination on January 1, 2020, OHIP’s Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program reimbursed Ontario residents up to $400 per day for emergency in-patient hospital services received while abroad. These short-sighted cuts make Ontario the only province in Canada which does not provide its residents with out-of-country emergency insurance coverage. While the rates of reimbursement differ by jurisdiction, every other province and territory in Canada provides residents with some form of reimbursement for med- ical emergencies which occur while they are travelling abroad. The Ontario Government’s health coverage cuts not only contravene the portability principle of the Canada Health Act – which requires that provinces and territories extend medically necessary hospital and physician coverage to their residents during temporary absences from the province or territory – they also violate the Ontario Health Insurance Act . These cuts will also increase the cost of out-of- country travel medical insurance premiums, making travel less affordable, particularly for seniors. As Ontario is the first jurisdiction to ter- minate out-of-country emergency insurance coverage entirely, it is critical that the CSA employs litigation as a tool to combat these illegal cuts. If the Ontario government goes unchallenged, other provinces and territories will follow suit and begin cancelling their own reimbursement programs, further eroding the Canada Health Act across the country. At the time of writing, the merits of our case are scheduled to be heard by a three-member judicial panel in the Ontario Divisional Court in June, although this may be postponed to later in the year due to the pandemic. If you can, please support this action by donating to our Special Action Fund – donations can be made online at www.snowbirds.org/special- action-fund . Th ank you to those who have already contributed. Please Stay Safe. Government Relations Report Ron Steeves First Vice-President CSANews | SPRING 2020 | 11

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