The heads of several business groups are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a present a “clear and consistent” plan for a gradual and safe return to normal life, which includes the easing of travel restrictions.
In a letter signed by executives from a range of sectors (travel and tourism included), the groups say that Canada’s fight against COVID-19 is at a “turning point” in that, by mid-summer, three quarters of adults will be partially vaccinated and one in five will be fully vaccinated.
"When that scenario is reached, federal modelling suggests, it should be possible to begin relaxing restrictive measures,” the letter reads.
The Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), too, has called for a plan, outlined in its 2021 Tourism and Travel Industry Recovery Plan, which was submitted to Ottawa before the federal budget was announced.
The document includes a seven-point plan for travel agency/agent support and recovery, while outlining priorities, such as extending and amending benefit programs, aid to cover commission recalls, ensuring that benefits work for all and criteria for a safe reopening of travel.
This latest letter signed by business leaders notes several approaches that other jurisdictions are taking.
The United Kingdom, for one, unveiled a four-stage “roadmap out of lockdown" with clear guidelines to mark the journey back to a more normal life.
The European Union, secondly, is developing a travel certificate that would replace the existing patchwork of country-specific travel regulations among its 27 member nations.
“Incorporating simple digital technology, the certificate is intended to make it easier for people to cross borders this summer as long as they can show proof of vaccination or a negative test result,” the letter points out.
The letter references the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, which issued guidance for those who are fully vaccinated, and Saskatchewan, which recently unveiled a three-step “Re-Opening Roadmap” that links the lifting of restrictions to vaccination milestones.
“All of these plans are cautious and tied to clear indicators of a reduction of infection in communities,” the letter reads. “They underscore the importance of vaccination and compliance with public health measures. But they also provide much-needed assurance that there is a thoughtful plan for a return to a more normal life.”
As far as travel is concerned: “Canadians also want to know when it will be safe to travel again to see friends and loved ones,” the letter said.
“To avoid rising levels of confusion and frustration, your government should collaborate with officials in the United States and other countries in setting benchmarks that would enable the easing of border restrictions and travel quarantines.”
“A clear and predictable plan for a gradual and safe return to a more normal life would instill public confidence while demonstrating concern for the physical, mental and economic health of Canadians.”
The letter is signed by more than 60 Canadian business leaders, including Michael McNaney, President & CEO, National Airlines Council of Canada; Daniel-Robert Gooch, President, Canadian Airports Council; Marc Brazeau, President & CEO, Railway Association of Canada; Susie Grynol, President & CEO, Hotel Association of Canada; Anthony Norejko, President & CEO, Canadian Business Aviation Association; and Beth Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
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