The steel worker crossed the border every day, driving from his home in Michigan to his job on the other side of St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. As far as the federal government was concerned, he was exempt from COVID-19 rules that forced other travellers to quarantine after entering Canada.
His employer had other ideas.
Algoma Steel insisted the resident of nearby Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., isolate for two weeks and then stay in Ontario. That was a problem for the dual citizen, who has joint custody of young children living in the U.S. He opted to stay with his kids, a decision that put him out of work for four months.
Then the apprentice machinist grieved Algoma’s policy, triggering a dispute around the coronavirus and international travel that’s unique to the pandemic era.
The case also underscored some of the quirks of the cross-border quarantine rules, which have allowed thousands of American truckers and contractors — one of whom tested positive for COVID-19 — to visit the Canadian steel plant over the same period.