The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable welcomed the removal of testing requirements for travellers by the U.S. and the temporary removal of testing by Canada for travellers.
However, it continued to call on the Canadian Government to permanently remove all arrival testing and other remaining COVID-19 restrictions.
In a statement, the Roundtable noted that the announcements mark an important milestone for the North American travel and tourism industry as it attempts to rebuild following more than two years of restrictions and shutdowns.
But it makes it clear that there is still significant work to do to alleviate unnecessary pressures on the travel sector and passenger experience. This includes immediately lifting the outdated vaccine mandates for passengers and federally regulated aviation workers and removing the duplicative health checks at Canada’s airports.
The Roundtable said that while Canada will remove some testing, there will remain congestion issues as all passengers’ vaccination status will continue to be determined at the border, with unvaccinated travellers still required to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival through June.
Its statement says that Canada’s outdated rules are causing unacceptable delays at the country’s major airports, keeping international visitors away and souring Canada’s reputation on the world stage.
Domestically, Canada’s travel rules are hurting small businesses, unfairly impacting families looking to enjoy the summer travel season and forcing the cancellation of conferences and events that help power local economies.
Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of Canada’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “Unfairly targeting travel and tourism is a relic from the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical experts have been clear; Canada’s current border policies are outdated and no longer helping keep COVID-19 out of Canada. While today’s announcement marks an important step in the right direction, there is still work to do.”
And to that end, the Roundtable is calling on the federal government to immediately:
- Remove vaccination mandates for passengers and federally regulated aviation workers
- Remove the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) duplicate health checks and questions through ArriveCAN at government checkpoints
- Remove manual selection processes for testing from CBSA and within airports;
- Establish clear service standards for security and customs processing of passengers travelling through Canadian airports
Canadians are ready to travel abroad, and international travellers are ready to travel to Canada. As demand for travel returns and other global economies re-open, Canada’s border policies and resources must reflect the new reality.