Following last week’s explosive revelation that the Health Minister’s own panel recommended scrapping Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine program – but, as Open Jaw reported, Patty Hajdu as well as Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair Blair rejected that recommendation – the federal government’s tune now appears to have changed.
After being pilloried by media and travel stakeholders for apparently disregarding the science-based recommendations of the ministry’s own advisors to get rid of the hotel quarantine program and treat international land and air arrivals based on their vaccination status, the Health Minister appears to be prepared to make changes – as long as she can gain a consensus among the provinces.
CBC reports on the weekend that in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Hajdu said, “she’ll consult with the provinces before acting on a new report calling for an end to the federal government’s mandatory hotel quarantine policy for air travellers,” adding she expects those discussions to take place this week.
“As you know, border management has been a hotly contested issue among provinces and territories. And I want to make sure that I understand the perspective of my colleagues before we take the next steps.”
Whether any action will come as a result of these consultations is unknown, and the Health Minister has not indicated what outcome she – or the federal government – would like to see.
Provincial and local – particularly bordertown – governments remain divided on the hot-button issue of when and how to re-open borders.
Current travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S. are set to expire 21JUN, but have been extended monthly and may be extended again.
In her interview with CBC, Hajdu added that – as also noted in her expert panel’s report – a vaccine passport system of confirming the status of arrivals into Canada is “crucial,” and that the government is in the process of reconciling a verification system with privacy requirements.
“We certainly have a head start with the ArriveCan (app), allowing for a digital submission of documentation, for example,” she said.
G7 health ministers are set to meet 03-04JUN in the U.K. where the topic of some kind of standardized vaccine passport is on the agenda, but Hajdu will not be attending in person, although Prime Minister Trudeau will make the upcoming G7 summit his first trip abroad since the pandemic.