Canadian border restrictions separate a mother from her kids in St. Lawrence County

Canadian border restrictions separate a mother from her kids in St. Lawrence County

OTTAWA, C.A. (WWNY) - A longtime St. Lawrence County resident moved to Canada before the pandemic. Now with restrictions at the border, she’s waiting on the day she can see her kids again.

“My children and both of my sisters live an hour from and it almost seems like it’s a world away,” said Judy Filipchuk.

Filipchuk is a teaching assistant with Potsdam Central Schools. She raised her kids in St. Lawrence County, and all three of them- ages 19, 21, and 25- still live in different parts of the county.

Filipchuk married her husband Tim, an Ottawa native, last summer and moved there shortly after.

But, when COVID-19 hit and it came time for her to pack up her things at work in Potsdam, Filipchuk says she knew she wouldn’t be coming back for a while.

“I had coworkers and friends texting me, asking me if I was going to be able to get back into Canada. My husband and I just decided you couldn’t take any chances. And I decided you couldn’t take any chances,” said Filipchuk.

That was on March 20th, one day before the Canadian border shut down to non-essential travel..

When Filipchuk crossed, customs told her and her husband they needed to self-quarantine for two weeks.

She says it’s been tough not seeing her family for the last three months, but technology helps.

“I struggle that there are things I wish I could do for them at this time. The idea that everybody stays healthy so that we can get together is probably the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Filipchuk.

Restrictions at the border could be lifted on June 21st. Until then, Filipchuk will keep waiting. She says, she hopes to cross, and come back to the North Country first thing that morning.

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