Yesterday, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne was advised that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the Cornwall Port of Entry was requiring everyone to provide their address and phone number, in addition to identification when crossing the border. This request for additional information began yesterday morning and was an understandable cause for concern for our community members.

In response to the concerns raised, Grand Chief Abram Benedict reached out to the CBSA Cornwall Port Director, CBSA Headquarters, the Government of Canada, and the Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to obtain additional information and a resolution. We were advised that the CBSA was acting in response to a mandate from the Public Health Agency of Canada to collect personal contact information from all Canadian travelers in order to track individuals who should be in quarantine or who may have been exposed to COVID-19. While we understand that gathering this information may be viewed as a way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by Canadian travelers who are crossing the border, it unfortunately did not take into account the unique circumstances of Akwesasronon. The message from MCA to our external contacts was that Akwesasne residents crossing the border for essential purposes should not be treated as ordinary Canadian travelers.

As of 8:00 pm last night the request by CBSA for addresses and phone numbers from Akwesasne residents at the CBSA Cornwall Port of Entry was discontinued. If you have any questions, please continue to contact the MCA Emergency Operation Center at 613-575-2331 and/or 613-575-5005.