All eyes remain glued on Canada’s vaccination rate. That’s the key metric that Ottawa is watching - along with increased transmission of new variants of the COVID-19 virus.
Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said we’ll “soon” get more updates about the border reopening and easing of travel restrictions.
“We are looking at continuing our plan for gradual and safe reopening, hopefully with more announcements in the coming weeks about next and further steps,” CTV reports Trudeau saying on Tuesday.
It comes a day after the official announcement that, as of 05JUL, fully-vaccinated Canadians will be exempt from hotel quarantines and some other arrival protocols. As Open Jaw reported, lifting some travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated Canadians is Phase I of Ottawa’s multi-phased reopening plan.
But Canadians have had no glimpse of the rest of the plan, including when fully-vaccinated foreign tourists will be permitted into Canada, or any easing of travel restrictions for partially vaccinated Canadians. The government’s own expert panel recommended weeks ago scrapping hotel quarantines altogether and treating all arrivals equally - no matter what nationality - based on vaccination or immunity status.
“We have to look at what variants of concern are present in Canada and, indeed, the situation around the world, because every step of the way we’re going to be cautious and responsible in the way we move forward. We’re all eager to get back to normal but we’re going to make sure we’re doing it in a way that is safe for Canadians,” the PM said, adding, “As always, as a country, we make our decisions based on the best science, the best evidence, the best data available.”
Trudeau praised Canadians for being “enthusiastic” about getting both doses of shots, and tied that rate to more progress lifting travel restrictions.
“We’re already up above 20 per cent in terms of full vaccinations. In the coming weeks we expect that to continue to rise rapidly and that will allow us to get to a place where we can accept larger volumes of people coming into this country,” he said.
That wasn’t enough to appease Canada’s business community.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Perrin Beatty made this stark point. “The fact that it is easier for vaccinated Canadians to fly to Paris than it is to drive to Buffalo demonstrates how illogical the present policy is. It is time for common sense, guided by science, to dictate a well considered reopening plan.”
In a separate statement, Business Council of Canada CEO Goldy Hyder called for, “A transparent plan with clear benchmarks to reopen travel,” saying that, “would be a powerful tool for encouraging Canadians to get fully vaccinated. The Council is disappointed that the government hasn’t seen fit to tell Canadians what they can look forward to as the vaccination campaign rolls on.”