Cancer patient questions N.B.’s COVID-19 border restrictions after daughter denied entry

A New Brunswick mother undergoing cancer treatments says the province is being too strict with its COVID-19 border restrictions after her daughter was denied entry to the province.

“It’s just not fair,” said Phyllis Smith of Riverview.

Smith’s daughter, Lisa Stephenson, is a Canadian citizen living in Swansea, Mass.

Stephenson said she is trying to get home with her husband to help care for her mom, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for advanced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, for what she hopes is not her last Christmas.

Read more: N.B. reports no new coronavirus cases, 4 recoveries

“I pray that I will and it will happen but you always have that in the back of your head when you see someone going through something so serious and struggling,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson said she and her husband, both Canadian citizens, applied to the Canada Border Services Agency to return home to Canada with a detailed self-isolation plan and were approved.

She said they were also planning to have COVID-19 testing done before leaving the U.S. as an added precaution.

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But she said their applications to cross the border into their home province of New Brunswick were denied.

“It is because we don’t fit into their emergency order,” said Stephenson.

An email sent to the family from the Department of Public Safety indicated that if Smith were in palliative care they would fall under the mandatory order.

“What good is that? I cannot hold her — I wouldn’t be well enough to hold her,” said Smith.

Read more: Canada extends border restrictions with United States until late November

Smith said this will be the first time in 41 years she will not be able to spend Christmas with her daughter at a time when she needs her the most.

“I am fighting but I don’t know if I am going to make it from day to day,” she said.

Smith’s son, who lives in New Brunswick, said if the federal government loosened its border restrictions with the U.S. to allow families to be together, his sister should be allowed to enter the province.

“I guess every province has different rules and where New Brunswick is so strict they are saying no, whereas other provinces would say, ‘Well, you are allowed into Canada, come into our province,” he said.

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Stephenson said she followed up with the province trying to appeal the decision but says the process is flawed and her request was denied.

“I just never thought that the place that I came from, even though they say they send their heart out to us, there is just no compassion,” said Stephenson.

Global News reached out to the province but has yet to receive a reply.

Meanwhile, the family has reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to step in on their behalf. But so far their pleas have gone unanswered.

“I was very happy living in New Brunswick — not anymore,” said Smith.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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