#Canada, #TravelRestrictions, #EmergenciesAct, #MarcGarneau
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canadian Prime Minister said today that he had a detailed discussion last night with the premiers about different options to further limit travel the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Travel restrictions. Image credit: Unsplash
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau hoped that the federal government would consider invoking the Emergencies Act to limit travel to keep Canadians safe.
In a Sunday interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Garneau said, "We are looking at all potential actions to make sure that we can achieve our aims. The Emergencies Act is something you don't consider lightly. But we are first and foremost concerned about the health and safety of Canadians. And if we can do that in a way that we have the regulatory power to do it, we will do it."
Garneau added that the Emergencies Act would empower the cabinet to regulate or prohibit travel "to, from or within any specified area, where necessary for the protection of the health or safety of individuals."
#Canada; #TravelAbroad;#Covid19Crisis; #Covid19Testing
Canada/Canadian-Media: Not heeding the government advice to stay home even during the worsening of the COVID 19 crisis, thousands of Canadians are boarding international flights to sunny destinations, media reports said.
Canadians on International flights. Image credit: Unsplash
More than 1,500 flights between Canada and 18 popular vacation destinations since Oct. 1 have been operated by Canadian air carriers in spite of the repeated warnings by federal government to avoid all "non-essential travel" outside the country.
"I try not to judge people. Everyone's got their reasons," he said. "Maybe they need, you know, some kind of stress relief," said Raywat Deonandan, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, CBC News reported.
Last week a new requirement was imposed by Canada asking all inbound travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Those tests are not 100 percent reliable, say the experts and that people should not assume their exposure abroad is uncontrollable.
"You cannot control who is in the airplane with you. You can't control the nature and the environment of the airport when you arrive. You can't control the hygienic quality of the taxi that you take from the airport to your destination," said Deonandan, who implored Canadians to think of the common good before travelling abroad.
"It is a steep, steep gamble that I don't think is worth taking," he said.
#BritishColumbia; #EmergencyDoctor; #SurgeInTravelers; #Ontario; #Quebec; #TravelBan
British Columbia/Canadian-Media: Dr. Annie Gareau, an emergency physician at Whistler Health Care Centre in B.C. told Radio-Canada about her concern after seeing a surge in the number of patients from Ontario and Quebec with surging COVID-19 transmission under control, over the holidays, and is calling on the B.C. government to contain travel from other provinces.
Travel ban. Image credit: Unsplash
"We have a limited capacity. Our waiting room is small, so definitely at one point in time between Christmas and New Year's it was unsettling the amount of patients that were in the clinic," she said.
"I think we need to do like the Atlantic provinces did and I think we need to restrict inter-provincial travel until the numbers are going down."
This was in spite of a public health advisory that was put in place across B.C. since Nov. 19 cautioning against all non-essential travel.
"I would say the majority of patients that came to the clinic between Christmas and New Year were not Whistlerites. The majority were from the Lower Mainland," Gareau said and added,
"And then — surprising and worrying — was a lot of people from out of province, mainly Ontario and Quebec."
Following the advice of the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that skiers should stick to their local slopes, some ski resorts have canceled reservations from non-local visitors.
As of Tuesday, a total of 162 cases of COVID-19 were reported by Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, according to Interior Health.
Representatives of the B.C. health ministry have not yet responded to calls for stricter travel regulations.
#Canada; #CanadaTravelAgencies; #TavelCommission; #RefundTravelers
Canada/Canadian-Media: Travel agents across Canada have been asked by travel companies to repay earned commissions in order to refund their customers to for trips cancelled due to COVID-19, media reports said.
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. Image credit: acta.ca
Some agents are being asked to repay as much as $50,000 to airlines and tour companies, said Ontario-based Judith Coates, one of the travel adviser and founders of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) said.
"It is impossible for us to pay back money that we do not have because we're not even earning a living, not to mention the fact that it was money that was earned and has been taxed in some cases — because it was paid in 2019 and it's been spent," said Coates.
Canada's the federal government is being called by the ACITA for a bailout, as Coates said that larger commissions are usually earned on trip packages, like destination weddings and not individual flights.
Coates said about 200 travel agencies in Ontario have closed their doors for good, and there's fear more will be gone forever if the federal government doesn't step in with a bailout.
Coates agents are reluctant to withdraw money from their earned commissions, which are placed in trust accounts.
Coates added if there isn't enough cash in the trust account, the company will take the money out of future bookings, which leaves the agents with little incentive to do any more business with companies.
Cordy said she's paid back $6,000 so far so her clients can get refunds, but she stands to lose as much as $20,000 if all her commissions on her other bookings are recalled.