By John Flett
Canada To Reopen To Vaccinated Travellers From September 7
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirmed on Friday, Sept. 3, that vaccinated travellers entering the country will be welcome. In a statement, the CBSA said, “Effective September 7, foreign nationals who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption can enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) travel.” In effect, the confirmation of the previously announced schedule for reopening should make it easier for fully vaccinated non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents who comply with the regulations to visit the country. Though travellers do need to ensure they comply with the necessary testing requirements and online form-filling prior to arrival.
The confirmation of the further reopening of Canada’s borders comes a month after restrictions on non-essential travel for fully vaccinated visitors from the U.S. was lifted. CBC News reported that the easing on 09 August resulted in a one hundred per cent increase of arrivals into the country in the week following the opening. “Vaccinated travellers … represent a much, much lesser risk of carrying and importing cases of COVID into the country [than unvaccinated travellers], and the data demonstrates that,” said Denis Vinette, vice-president of the CBSA’s COVID-19 border task force.
Arrivals by air saw a 30 per cent increase in the first week of the relaxation of restrictions with 179,939 flight arrivals against 138,257 from the week before. In 2020 in the corresponding August week, only 46,506 passengers arrived by air compared to 783,790 in 2019.
In a positive sign for the Canadian domestic aviation market, Air Canada announced this week that flights would resume between Montréal and Billy Bishop Toronto City airport. The five daily return flights servicing Montréal-Trudeau International Airport and the airport on Toronto Island would commence on 08 September. The airline will operate a De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft with its Air Canada Express Jazz subsidiary and offer passengers a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport to downtown Toronto.
Mark Galardo, Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management at Air Canada said, “We are pleased to restart our operations at Billy Bishop airport and offer our customers the choice to fly in and out of Toronto Island, which is popular among business travellers for its proximity to the city centre and its ability to connect travellers to our global network through Montreal.”
Billy Bishop airport was closed for commercial aircraft operations at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The commencement of the services to Montréal coincide with the airport’s reopening of commercial services on 08 September. The airport offers passengers a unique alternative to flying into Toronto Pearson International with its proximity to downtown Toronto. Prior to the pandemic, the airport facilitated the movement of 2.8 million passengers per year. In 2015 a pedestrian tunnel opened linking the airport to the city with a six-minute walk that over 90% of passengers chose to utilize.