Symmetry not guaranteed on border policy, says ambassador

Latest border measures update scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today

TORONTO — Federal ministers and government officials say they will announce updates to Canada’s border measures.

The media briefing is scheduled for today, July 19, at 1:30 p.m. (EDT).

Canada’s border measures have been renewed every 21st of the month for more than a year now. Earlier this year the government aligned the announcements about the Canada-U.S. border closure, and Canada’s other travel restrictions, so that they renew or update on the 21st of each month.

Last month’s border closure renewal came with the first positive news the industry had heard in 15 months: that fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada no longer had to quarantine. The change went into effect July 5.

Days earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had outlined more details about Canada’s proposed 2-track system for proof of vaccination. The first track, with an upgrade to Canada’s ArriveCAN app, has functionality for uploading vaccination certification. The second track, starting this fall, is a national system that coordinates proof of vaccination from provincial health care records.

Trudeau followed up on June 22 by saying that: “Canadians will be able to travel fully if they’re fully vaccinated.” At that time he also suggested that further eased restrictions could be weeks, not months, away.

Last week came word that Trudeau’s discussions with the premiers included a heads up that Canada’s border could reopen to fully vaccinated American travellers by mid-August, and fully vaccinated international travellers by September.

Mike McNaney, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC), said the NACC is encouraged by the news that U.S. and then international travellers could be allowed back in Canada in the coming months. “We are encouraged by the Prime Minister’s statement as our industry has repeatedly called on the federal government to release an overall restart plan and timeframe, and we are looking to the government to publicly confirm details as soon as possible,” said McNaney.

“Over the past several weeks, our members have issued updated schedules and have been investing in bringing capacity back on line to enable a quick and safe restart once border policy is changed. As border measures are adjusted, the government should follow the clear recommendations released in May by Health Canada’s Expert Panel on Testing and Screening including the elimination of hotel quarantine for non-vaccinated travellers. The government should also eliminate the quarantine requirement for non-vaccinated minors.”

McNaney added: “Though the Prime Minister’s comments provide a general timeframe, we are very close to losing the entire summer travel season. We look forward to urgent engagement with the federal government over the coming days and the release of a detailed action plan.”