BY MICHAEL RANGER, NEWS STAFF | Jun 18, 2021
Canada is extending its border restrictions on non-essential international travel for another month.
The extended restrictions will include travel between Canada and the United States. The previous order was set to expire on June 21, it will now expire on July 21.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair made the announcement on Twitter on Friday morning.
Blair says the federal government is “planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians” and further details will be provided on Monday.
As we have said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, Permanent Residents, and others who are currently permitted to enter Canada and will provide further details on Monday, June 21.
— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) June 18, 2021
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada has yet to meet the vaccination targets to safely open the border when asked why the restrictions were extended once again.
“We are looking forward to getting back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Trudeau during a Friday morning virtual news conference from Rideau Cottage. “But we’re not out of this pandemic yet, we’re still seeing cases across the country and we want to get them down.”
Trudeau has previously said that it would take 75 per cent of Canadians with their first dose and 20 per cent of Canadians with two doses before restrictions can be lifted.
“We are sticking with our principle of doing everything necessary to keep Canadians safe even as we move forward on loosening restrictions in a responsible way,” said Trudeau.
“That’s what I talked with the premiers about last night and I can tell you there is tremendous focus on making sure we are doing this as quickly and safely as possible.”
The premiers said they hoped to hear more details about the reopening plan in a call with the prime minister on Thursday night. Trudeau called the meeting amid concerns Canada is lagging behind other nations on resuming travel.
The measures at the border have been in place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The accelerated vaccine rollout in Canada is adding on the pressure to at least partially reopen the U.S. border after a fifteen-month shutdown.
Trudeau has said his plan to ease travel measures will take a phased-in approach and some cabinet ministers suggest the gradual plan won’t begin until early July.
There could also be some clarity provided on vaccine passports when the border plans are finally unveiled.
The government has already laid out its plans to lift restrictions for certain travellers arriving to Canada by air.
It says the first step will be to allow people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and who are permitted to enter the country — to forego mandatory hotel quarantine.
Travellers will need to have been fully vaccinated 14 days or more before they arrive in Canada. The only vaccines that will be accepted will be those approved for use in Canada.
People will still be required to have a negative PCR test before boarding their flight to Canada and will still need to be tested upon arrival. People will be expected to quarantine until they get their negative test result back.
The federal government says it is confident the that airports in Canada will be prepared to start accepting an influx of travellers when the borders start to reopen for non-essential travel.
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the government has been in contact with airlines and airports about the plan but says reopening may not happen as soon as the restrictions expire.
In a panel discussion on Thursday, Canadian tourism groups say tens of thousands of jobs are on the line and many businesses are relying on a tourism season this summer.