Looking at interprovincial travel for this summer, and what about the Canada-U.S. border?


TORONTO — At least one medical expert thinks chances are good for interprovincial travel this summer.

And that’s positive news because despite calls from Senator Chuck Schumer and others, there doesn’t seem to be any indication the Canada-U.S. border will reopen any time soon, at least according to one report.

Interprovincial travel restrictions are currently in place in most provinces and territories across the country, with the exceptions of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

And in recent weeks some premiers including Ontario Premier Doug Ford have been calling for even more travel restrictions, with an eye to flattening the third wave curve.

On the other hand, vaccination rates across the country are scaling up rapidly, with more than 40% of Canadians now with at least their first dose.

In a recent interview with the CBC, Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious diseases expert with the University of Alberta Hospital, said: “I don’t know if I’d be planning something for June, but looking into late July and August, I’d be surprised if we didn’t see an ability to travel within your province for sure, and very likely between provinces.”



Hopes are not as high for trips to the U.S. this summer.

The Canada-U.S. border closure has been in effect since March 2020 and was recently extended to at least May 21, along with Canada’s many other travel restrictions.

Last week came news that U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer had sent a letter to the Biden administration stressing the need for a reopening plan for the Canada-U.S. border. He’s also calling for an expansion of the list of who’s able to travel across the border, to include fully vaccinated people with property on the other side of the border, or who are travelling for educational, medical or business purposes.

In his letter, Sen. Schumer (NY) said: “A bi-national plan with clearly defined benchmarks will provide clarity and transparency to a confusing and frustrating process. Such an agreement is critical to safely and coherently reopening the border for non-essential travel as quickly as the underlying data would permit.”

Reports in Washington Bureau Chief Edward Keenan’s column in the Star suggests border reopening talks haven’t even really started. Asked for his take on discussions at the negotiating table, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins told Keenan: “I think you’re being generous. I don’t think there is a table. I don’t think anybody’s at it. Therein lies the problem.”

Calls for a reopening plan have been coming from all sectors of the travel industry for months, with Air Canada and the National Airports Council of Canada issuing separate calls just days ago. Meanwhile, after 14 months, industry frustration with the federal government’s lack of transparency when it comes to reopening plans is reaching a boiling point.


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