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In its correspondence to the Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair, on April 7, 2020, at the earliest onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, CIFFA expressed industry concerns around getting freight forwarders designated as an essential service in Canada’s response to COVID-19.
On November 19, 2020, CIFFA received a signed reply from the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister of the National and Cyber Security Branch, Dominic Rochon, responding on behalf of the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
The letter notes that, in response to the issue of variations in exemptions provided for critical infrastructure and essential services in Provincial and Territorial emergency orders, the Government of Canada released the Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The guidance assists various jurisdictions and businesses in their decision-making around the types of employees considered essential to maintain the health, safety, security and economic well-being of Canadians throughout this health crisis.
Included in this list of services and functions, it is noted that workers necessary to providing freight forwarding and customs brokerage services have been included.