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In anticipation of the Minister of Health’s announcement this week regarding changes to travel restrictions, the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable (“The Roundtable”) issues the following open letter to the Prime Minister, calling on the federal government to lay out a plan for the removal of pre-departure and on-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travellers.
Dear Prime Minister:
Canada is in a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic – one marked by widespread vaccination and high levels of prior infection, and one which many Medical Officers of Health have called endemic.
From Denmark and the United Kingdom to Switzerland, Ireland and Norway, many forward-thinking countries worldwide have recognized that the time has come to remove COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers.
We believe Canada should do the same.
Canadians have been among the most cooperative citizens anywhere in the world, rolling up their sleeves, staying home, and cancelling or adjusting travel or personal plans time and time again.
The Canadian Travel and Tourism industry is calling on the federal government to lay out a plan with a clear timeline for removing travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers and their children, including removing unnecessary pre-departure and on-arrival testing and isolation requirements and blanket travel advisories.
Travellers are subject to mandatory vaccination, as is the industry which serves them. Our industry has been in lockstep with the government by prioritizing safety since the beginning of the pandemic – including through our strong support of vaccination.
Since the pandemic’s start, only 1% of all cases of COVID-19 in Canada have been related to travel, and throughout the last wave, the test positivity rate in communities reached ten times what it was at our borders.
We strongly agree with the government’s repeated statements that Canada’s COVID-19 policies should be based on science but there is no logical or scientific reason that travel should be singled out as the only activity that requires testing and isolation.
As a country we have learned a lot over the last two years and it’s time we apply an updated approach to our thinking to quickly and safely transition out of this most recent phase of the pandemic.
It’s time for the federal government to begin encouraging Canadians to travel and to invite the world to once again explore what our great country has to offer.
As provinces come out of lockdowns and with the spring and summer travel seasons on the horizon, we urgently request that the federal government allow the travel and tourism sector to reopen alongside all other sectors of the economy.
This press release was prepared and distributed by the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable