No Games for Blue Jays in Toronto due to Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in travel restrictions to Canada. Consequently, the government prohibits all non-essential travels to Canada. That is why Toronto Blue Jays won’t play regular-season games in Rogers Centre this year.

What are the travel restrictions?

Unless you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, you may not travel to Canada for non-essential reasons. Of course, there are some exceptions:

  • International students and temporary foreign workers who received their permits before March 18, 2020
  • Temporary foreign workers who are truck drivers or work in the agricultural or healthcare sectors
  • Immediate family members of Canadian citizens or permanent residents
  • Members of Canadian or visiting forces and their immediate family members
  • Transiting passengers if they stay in secure transit areas at a Canadian airport
  • Air and marine crew members
  • Accredited diplomats and their immediate family members

Of course, this list is not comprehensive and subject to change.

Is it possible to bypass travel restrictions?

If an entity is not on the exemption list, they may still travel to Canada. However, they must obtain a National Interest Exemption Letter from one of the following Ministers:

  • Marco E. L. Mendicino – the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
  • Bill Blair – the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • François-Philippe Champagne – the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Did Toronto Blue Jays apply for a National Interest Exemption Letter?

The MLB and Blue Jays initially applied for preseason training on their home-field, Rogers Centre in Toronto. Luckily, the government approved their request. However, they put many restrictions on them. For example, they could not be in contact with the public. The MLB later requested an exemption for regular-season games.

Why did the Canadian government refuse their second request?

According to an announcement by IRCC, they refused the request on public health concerns. Here is part of the statement by IRCC:

“Based on the best-available public health advice, we have concluded the cross-border travel required for MLB regular season play would not adequately protect Canadians’ health and safety. As a result, Canada will not be issuing a National Interest Exemption for the MLB’s regular season at this time.”

Unfortunately, this means Blue Jays will not hold any games in Toronto for now. Of course, this could change in the future.

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    Al Parsai

    Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.