OTTAWA — Mayors of Windsor, Niagara Falls, Sarnia, Ont. and Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) held a news conference last Friday calling on the federal government to end COVID-19 testing at land-border crossings.
Earlier this month, the government announced that travellers entering Canada will no longer have to take a pre-arrival PCR test as of February 28, but can opt for an authorized rapid antigen test that must be taken no more than one day before their scheduled arrival at the land border. However, this testing requirement remains a barrier for those looking to cross land borders, stunting the recovery of the travel-and-tourism industry.
“The practicality of the loosening of this restriction really means nothing to the average traveller,” said Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor, Ont. during the news conference. “So, I think what we need to do is trust Canadians to make smart decisions. We’ve asked people to get vaccinated, that is the high-water mark here of the pandemic. But having a requirement for a test is really an optical illusion for safety. It’s providing no real protection.”
“This is the planning cycle for the summer and we’re hearing very much from our American counterparts that Canada is closed for business,” said Beth Potter, president of TIAC during the news conference. “We have a real challenge ahead of us to prove we’re not only open for business, but removing those barriers so that we are open for business.”
“Their businesses are hanging on by a thread and we’re looking for predictability. If we miss this season, there is no industry standing on the other side of this,” said Susie Grynol, president and CEO of HAC during the news conference.