ACTA says the federal government needs to urgently address the issues of global recognition of vaccinations as well as reverting to country-specific risk-based travel advisories for fully vaccinated travellers.
The industry association says that the recognition of Canadian vaccinations by other countries and out-of-date travel advisories are negatively impacting Canadian travellers and tourism business survival.
ACTA points out that in order to ensure rapid and broad vaccination in Canada, the federal government promoted mixed vaccinations and the use of AstraZeneca.
As a result, many Canadians are unable to travel abroad since some foreign health authorities do not recognize the mixing of vaccination brands or the use of the AstraZeneca agent.
In order to address these concerns, ACTA wants the federal government to:
- Plan a coordinated national proof-of-vaccination certificate program, which must follow global best-practices to ensure broad recognition. Preferably, the program would be developed multilaterally with countries frequented by Canadian travellers.
- Continue engaging with foreign governments to ensure that Health Canada-approved vaccination schedules and World Health Organization-approved vaccination agents are recognized globally. This includes immediate and aggressive diplomacy to ensure the upcoming U.S. traveller policy does not prohibit the entry of Canadians based on mixed vaccination status.
As for travel advisories, ACTA points out that Canada’s global “avoid non-essential” and “avoid all cruise ship” travel advisories have been in effect for over 18 months and have not been updated in the current context of broad vaccination.
The association says that now that safe and highly effective vaccinations against COVID-19 are broadly available, Global Affairs Canada should update its global travel advisory.
ACTA agrees with a phased-in approach, and proposes creating two streams of advisories:
- The global travel advisory is removed for fully vaccinated travellers, recognizing the protection offered by vaccination. Country-specific advisories are reinstated based on risk.
- For unvaccinated travellers, the global travel advisory continues as safety concerns for these individuals remain.
ACTA says that this approach would also apply to cruise travel.
In the past few months, cruise lines have adopted strict biohazard protocols and have proven that safe operations are feasible. Global Affairs Canada should modify the cruise travel advisory for fully vaccinated travellers on cruise lines that have adopted strict biohazard safety protocols.
The advisory would remain as-is for unvaccinated travellers.
As for children, ACTA is proposing a post-arrival testing regime for children for whom vaccinations are unavailable.
Currently, these children must undertake several molecular COVID-19 tests and go through a period of isolation.
This poses a significant barrier to family travellers.
These children should only be tested prior to travel and upon arrival, with the third test and the period of isolation removed.
ACTA says that this is a prudent and cautious approach that removes barriers to family travellers while preserving community safety.
Go to www.acta.ca for more.