Canadians expected more.
That’s the takeaway from the federal government’s decision to lift some quarantine restrictions for Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated, starting July 5 according to the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable (The Roundtable).
While acknowledging that the move is an improvement on the current restrictive measures, the Roundtable said that the changes represent a small first step and what Canada urgently needs is a proper plan and a policy on travel that is based on science, is in line with what other countries are doing, and one agnostic on nationality.
The Roundtable observes that the June 21 announcement fails to tell Canadians what they can look forward to as the country’s vaccination effort continues, instead Canadians and Canadian businesses have been left in the dark.
The federal government failed to provide a comprehensive re-opening plan for international and domestic travel, particularly around fully vaccinated foreign nationals visiting Canada in line with their own Expert Panel recommendations, the Roundtable says.
And it continues in a statement that without question, fully vaccinated travellers should be welcome to come and go, without quarantine or restriction, observing that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize your passport, but it recognizes your vaccine.
Further, the Roundtable says that Canadian businesses that rely on international travellers are being unfairly harmed as the government’s announcement does nothing to aid and improve the Canadian travel and tourism industry.
It points out that Canadian hospitality businesses rely on international travellers and by allowing Canadians to travel internationally while prohibiting fully vaccinated foreign travellers from entering Canada, the government is significantly disadvantaging Canadian businesses that, after a year and a half of a pandemic, need a successful summer travel season to survive.
The Roundtable also points out that upon arrival to Canada, unvaccinated children will be forced to quarantine for 14-days, even if their parents are fully vaccinated. This policy is almost unprecedented and doesn’t reflect what Canada’s international partners are doing in Europe, the UK, and the US. In Canada, children under 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated.
As a result of the mandatory quarantine for children, Canadian families with children have been effectively and unfairly prohibited from international travel this summer. Today’s announcement opened international travel for a fortunate few, principally establishing a two-tiered system benefitting business travel and those without young children.
Right now in Ontario, the Roundtable says, it is easier to travel to Rome than it is to drive to Rochester. If you live in Quebec, is easier to fly to Paris than drive to Vermont.
Canadians are doing their part in getting vaccinated; now it is time for the federal government to provide clear, timely, and safe guidance on reopening Canada for travel. Our people, our communities, and our economy depend on it.