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Canada's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic looks to be on a "good trajectory," and changes to some border policies are "coming soon," Canada's chief public health officer says.
Dr. Theresa Tam appeared before a government last Friday and offered up some hope for the travel industry and for folks who want to cross the border more easily.
She didn't give a specific date for when borders might be opened, but Tam did talk about new rules for fully vaccinated travellers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said some of kind of vaccine passport for Canada is likely on the way, and that he wants to align Canadian policies with major allies. The European Union has endorsed the idea of allowing vaccinated travellers into Europe beginning in July.
"We're very actively examining the policies related to vaccinated travellers or fully vaccinated travel," Tam said at the three-hour long committee hearing, adding, "I do think that Canada is probably on a good trajectory in terms of its epidemiology and our own vaccination coverage and so I do think that between now and moving toward the fall, we would expect some shifts in that policy."
Tam didn't say so, but changes could include a relaxation of quarantine rules as well as special permission to enter Canada for visitors or residents with proof of two vaccinatiosn.
Tam said factors such as case rates, hospital capacity and vaccination percentages in Canada (which are rising quickly) will need to be considered.
According to CP24, Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski, whose Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding in northwestern Ontario runs along the United States border, said there are thousands of businesses that rely on American tourists in the summer.
"If there's no American tourists this year, they're going to go bankrupt, and a lot of people will lose their livelihood," he said. "I think it's a reasonable question: when can we expect to hear when fully vaccinated people, especially Americans, will be allowed into Canada?"
Tam said it was a reasonable question, and that some changes to policies are coming soon.
Jim Byers was travel editor for five years at the Toronto Star, which has the largest travel section in North America. He has...
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