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Penticton man slapped with $5,700 ticket for crossing border for milk

Daniel Pontes wants others to know the government just recently voided the ticket
Canadian Border Services Agency Osoyoos port of entry. (Tara Bowie/Western News file photo)

A Penticton man who went across the U.S. border to buy milk for neighbours during the shortage was slapped with a $5,700 ticket for not coming back into Canada with a negative COVID-19 PCR test.

“I went to Orville and picked up 26 gallons of milk. I had it in the back of my truck when I pulled up to the border kiosk,” said Daniel Pontes.

“I’m vaccinated, I have my vaccine passport with me. I had only been gone a couple of hours,” he said.

The next thing he knows he is being told to go inside the customs’ office and see the nurse.

That nurse explained that he was supposed to have a COVID test three days before going into the U.S.

But this was at a time when the government had made an exception for British Columbians to cross the border to get essential food and for essential travel to the Lower Mainland. All connecting roads to the Coast had been flooded out and closed.

As with previous media reports, it didn’t seem border guards had got the memo. Numerous people join Pontes in being ticketed a large amount while crossing the border in November.

South Surrey senior Marlane Jones, for example, saw on the news that she would be allowed to cross into the U.S. to purchase gas. She did so but on her return to Canada, CBSA officers sent her to be interviewed by the Public Health Agency, which issued her a $5,700 ticket.

READ MORE: B.C. residents can buy essential goods in U.S., return without PCR test: CBSA

“It was ridiculous. They gave me a PCR test to take home with me and I had to submit the results and quarantine for two weeks.”

The nurse told him he also had the option of returning to the U.S. to get a rapid test. But when Pontes, Googled where any tests were being offered in Orville, the search turned up nothing.

So Pontes went home to Penticton and took the test. Two days later the test turns up negative so that day he filed a complaint with Services BC about the ticket.

“I was hoping to fight it in court actually,” he said.

Then on Dec. 13, he gets a voicemail on his phone from the government saying that the ticket has been voided.

Now he wants others who have been ticketed to know.

“Don’t pay your ticket and it’s definitely worth fighting,” he said.

As for the 26 gallons of milk, it did get distributed to neighbours in need.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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