Ottawa informed the team of the decision on Saturday, citing concerns over the public health risks associated with Major League Baseball’s plan for a 60-game season.
Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, told CBC News Network that the circumstances did not warrant a border-crossing exemption, particularly in light of the amount of cross-border travel needed and the risks that remained. The plan called for the Blue Jays and visiting teams to cross the Canada-U.S. border regularly
“Look, I’m a baseball fan,” Mendicino said. “But we’re not taking decisions as fans. We’re taking decisions on the evidence of science that we receive and protecting the health and safety of Canadians.”
For weeks, senior federal officials have privately expressed concerns about the Blue Jays playing games in COVID-19 hot spots before returning to Toronto while also hosting teams from states U.S. where positive cases are growing fast.
Mendicino said the government is willing to restart plans if the Blue Jays make the playoffs and the risk of the virus spreading has diminished.