Canadian business leaders demand plan to reopen borders, economy now

CEOs in the airline and travel industry want the federal government to provide a complete timeline for opening international borders.

OTTAWA — Business leaders are calling on Ottawa to immediately lay out a comprehensive plan to reopen the economy and international borders along with a vaccine certification process.

At a news conference today, a Canadian travel and tourism roundtable said the federal government must heed advice from its expert advisory panel last month and allow fully vaccinated foreigners into the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden at the G7 summit about easing border restrictions, but gave no hints that a timeline or other specifics have been settled on.

Perrin Beatty, chief executive of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says Canada is a G7 "outlier" in failing to provide a fully-fledged reopening plan that includes vaccination rates and other criteria.

The tourism and airline sectors have lost billions over the past 15 months amid ongoing travel advisories and border closures due to the pandemic.

The government took a cautious first step last week when it announced that Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have received two vaccine doses and who test negative for COVID-19 will likely be exempt from two weeks' self-isolation, including hotel quarantines, starting early next month.

The U.S.-Canada border closure, in place since March 20 and renewed monthly, is currently set to expire next Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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