After close to 15 months, it’s become pretty clear that it’s time to reopen the Canada-US border.
And yesterday (June 8), the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) launched a new campaign that not only called on the federal government to give the industry a plan and a date for the reopening, but also asked Canadians to send a message to their Member of Parliament and tell them that they needed to do their part to see the border safely reopened.
TIAC president and CEO, Beth Potter pointed out that: “The decision to close the border was made in a time of crisis, and now that we are starting to come through on the other side, we must have a plan in place to reopen the border, to kickstart the Canadian tourism economy. The health and safety of Canadians continues to be of the utmost importance – which is why we need guidance from all levels of government on a plan.”
The urgent need for a plan comes at a time when the federal government is “talking about ending crucial financial relief programs that have kept tourism businesses afloat during this entire ordeal,” Potter notes.
“It can’t be both ways,” TIAC’s boss states, before continuing: “either continue to support tourism businesses through programs like CEWS and CERS, or start reopening the border so that businesses can get back to work.”
Yet Potter said: “There is a lack of urgency on the Canadian side for planning for the inevitable reopening of the border, which has been out-of-step with U.S. officials and the Biden administration. President Biden formally asked for a border reopening plan immediately after taking office, and so far, Canada has been slow to make any public progress.”
The industry association is urging the government to take action so that Canadian tourism operators and businesses have the ability to plan. Those businesses, TIAC points out, need time to retrain, rehire and market. Many of them rely on advance bookings and without a clear plan for reopening and a commitment to when it will happen, people are uncertain as to whether or not they can book activities in Canada – at any date in the future.
As for TIAC’s hope for the timing of the Canada-US border reopening, Potter said as soon as possible, before indicating that it was looking at a timeline of four to six weeks.
Whether it will get its wish remains to be seen, but it will be hosting a number of Parliamentary and Congressional panels in the coming weeks to discuss the border reopening.
Go to www.openuscanborder.ca for more.