Ontario farm family moving east granted hotel isolation exemption
TOWN OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS, ONT. -- Canadian veteran Mathew Ricard and his wife are in isolation on their new farm in New Brunswick after moving from their hobby farm west of Owen Sound, Ont. and being granted a hotel isolation exemption.
CTV News first reported last week the family faced the possibility of 14-days in isolation at a hotel upon arrival in New Brunswick under the province's emergency order. The Ricards were unsure and unable to get answers about what would happen to their collection of farm animals in the meantime and hoped, instead, the government would allow them to isolate at their new farm.
The story garnered attention across the country. Just hours before they reached the border, the Ricards received news that Bill Oliver, a member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick, had helped expedite a travel exemption for the family.
Ricard said the border was reminiscent of a military checkpoint in Afghanistan. "There were barricades everywhere, so you couldn't drive straight through," he said.
Oliver said the New Brunswick government is now considering approving unique circumstances like the Ricards.
"We went back to the government, and we asked if they could make an exemption, and so what they have decided, not just for this family, but other families, they've decided we look at it on a case-to-case basis," he explained.
While the move ended up going smoothly despite initial concerns, the Ricards had no choice but to temporarily leave their horses and some sheep at a friend's farm.
Sadly, Ricard's therapy horse, purchased by Veteran Affairs after an IED blast in Afghanistan injured him, died suddenly shortly after the family departed.
Ricard said the outpouring of support from the community of Belleisle and beyond has been overwhelming since their arrival.
"It's New Brunswick. It's kind of known for the people," he said. "They are known for being kindhearted people, and they really are," he concluded.
Ricard and his family will spend the next two weeks in isolation on their new farm before returning for the rest of his horses and sheep and some personal effects.