Roundtable calls for end to mandatory random testing and remaining restrictions

Roundtable calls for end to mandatory random testing and remaining restrictions

OTTAWA — The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable is calling on the federal government to avoid reintroducing testing at airports and lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on travel.

“Three weeks ago, to aid the flow of passengers at ‘Canada’s airports, the federal government announced a pause on Mandatory Random Testing through to June 30, 2022. Removing the entire testing process from airports will ease the passenger experience, particularly once staffing issues with third-party agencies have been dealt with,” says the latest Roundtable statement.

“Later this week, the federal government’s ‘pause’ of several COVID-19 restrictions relating to testing expires; it is critical that the government not allow these restrictions to come back into force and push the sector backwards. The Roundtable calls on the federal government to follow the overwhelming science and evidence and further lift COVID-19 restrictions plaguing Canada’s tourism sector and negatively impacting Canadian and international passengers.

The Roundtable is advocating for …

  • Removing COVID-19 testing out of the travel environment and consider other ways to assess community spread, such as community wastewater testing for tracking future variants;
  • Permanently lift the vaccine requirement for travel for both domestic and international travellers in addition to workers in the sector; and
  • Streamline the ArriveCan application and use it solely as a pre-entry declaration system to digitize border processing

The Roundtable is asking the federal government meet with Roundtable members in July to discuss government and industry jointly developing a contingency response plan for the fall.

“Working together, we can ensure that future measures are rooted in science and can be implemented without unnecessarily impacting Canadians, workers and our sector,” says the Roundtable.

“Leftover COVID-19 measures negatively impact the passenger experience at Canada’s border and limit the sector’s ability to recover after more than two years of shutdowns and restrictions. As the government looks to rebuild the Canadian economy and protect the health and safety of Canadians, there are no scientific reasons that the travel economy should be treated differently than any other sector, as confirmed by officials at the Public Health Agency of Canada.”

The statement goes on to say: “Canada’s travel and tourism sector is facing major challenges caused in part by the significant underperformance of government and third-party service providers and labour shortages; Canadians cannot access passports, the wait time for NEXUS applications is unmanageable, CATSA, CBSA, and NAV Canada staffing is insufficient, and the sector is plagued with untenable policies that are not rooted in science. The Roundtable acknowledges the government’s recent establishment of the Cabinet Task Force on Government Services to review some of these issues. We would like service level standards and timelines communicated to industry and the travelling public to ensure swift action and improvements to the travel process.”

And Roundtable member and TIAC President and CEO Beth Potter adds: “Our industry calls on the federal government to support Canadians looking to travel after two years of a pandemic. This means permanently lifting the remaining COVID-19 restrictions hindering our sector’s recovery.”