House of Commons to vote on ending pandemic restrictions for travelers

Wait times at Canadian airports have been absolutely chaotic over the past few weeks, due to a combination of factors.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has apologized for maddening wait times across the country, citing staff shortages as a major reason. There’s also random COVID-19 testing, increased questioning from border agents, and confusion from the country’s mandatory ArriveCAN app due to federal pandemic-related travel requirements.

On Monday, the House of Commons will be voting to end Canada’s pandemic travel restrictions.

The Opposition Motion, sponsored by the Conservative Party’s Melissa Lantsman, will be put to a vote under the “Rules and service levels for travel” motion at 3 pm.

The text of the motion cites that Canadians are currently “experiencing unable to wait times at Canadian airports” and that “current restrictions have been cited by experts as ineffective and contributing to additional delays, costs, and confusion.”

The motion also states that “Canada’s international allies have moved to lift COVID-19 restrictions at airports and other points of entry, Canada is losing business and economic opportunities. The House is calling on the Liberal government to “immediately revert to pre-pandemic rules and service levels for travel.”

Lansman says the government can still ensure that “Canada is not an outlier in the world. They can do what other countries have already done.”

Last week, Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, was asked about passengers contacting COVID-19 on flights. She says there have been “very few reports” and “extremely rare” cases of transmission aboard aircraft. Tam says officials are learning “more and more” about technology and ventilation on modern aircrafts and that ventilation aboard planes is “actually really good.”

Canada is currently the only country in the world still banning domestic travel for unvaccinated citizens. Various countries around the world now allow their unvaccinated citizens to fly internationally, including New Zealand and Australia — two countries with the strictest COVID-19 requirements at the height of the pandemic.

Since November 1, 2021, Canadians have been mandated to show proof of vaccine across the country to board a plane, train, bus, or cruise ship in the country.

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