Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, December 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, December 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Returning travellers no longer eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: Trudeau

Non-essential travellers will have to quarantine, provide negative COVID test

Travellers returning from non-essential trips abroad will no longer be eligible for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, Prime Minister Trudeau said during a Tuesday (Jan. 5) press conference.

Trudeau said that the benefit is designed for workers who need to miss work because they are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19 and need to isolate, or have an underlying health condition that makes being at work unsafe. It provides $500 per week, or $450 after tax.

“It is not intended for travellers who are quarantining after they return,” he said.

“Anyone who travelled for non-essential reasons will not be able to access the sickness benefit.”

Trudeau’s words come on the heels of stricter requirements for incoming non-essential travellers. The 14-day quarantine requirement, in place since March, remains in place but starting Thursday incoming travellers will have to provide proof of an approved COVID-19 tests taken within 72 hours of their arrival time.

Trudeau said that politicians who have travelled recently – including from Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Trudeau’s own caucus – have damaged Canadians’ morale and the sense of solidarity that has proven key to adherence to COVID rules.

“As leaders we’ve been encouraging Canadians to continue to do the right thing. It is discouraging to see politicians not do the same thing,” he said.

He said that while vaccines are being rolled out across the country, it will be months yet until even the most vulnerable are vaccinated. Canada is expected to get more than one million doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of January, and Trudeau said every Canadian who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by September.

At a later press conference Tuesday, chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said that there have now been nine cases of the U.K. variant of the virus found in Canada. This variant is believed to be more infectious than the one currently present in Canada. That virus variant has led to a strict lockdown in the U.K., with people being asked to not leave their homes except for essential work and to get food and medicine.

Tam said Canada is ramping up its genomic sequencing in order to determine how much of the U.K. variant has truly made its way into the country. Generally, Canada has been doing genomic sequencing at a rate of about five per cent of the COVID cases to date. So far, Tam said all nine cases of the variant in Canada have been related to travellers.

“But there’s always a risk,” she said.

Canada, which has multiple provinces under varying degrees of heightened restrictions, has reported about 7,500 new cases each day over the past week.

Tam said it is worrying that while it took Canada until June to hit its first 100,000 cases, it’s taken just two weeks to go from 500,000 to 600,000.

Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, vice president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said that 424,500 vaccines were delivered across country in December. The territories, who did not receive the Pfizer vaccine due to logistical challenges, have now been sent 20,400 doses of the Moderna immunizations.

Fortin said that 124,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in Canada this week, with 208,000 arriving per week for the following three weeks. Canada is also expected to get 170,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine for the week of Jan. 11.

Both vaccines require two doses to reach above 90 per cent effectiveness.

“I personally haven’t heard of wastage of vaccines.”

READ MORE: 7 Alberta cabinet ministers, MLAs, staff resign after holiday travels: Kenney

READ MORE: Travel industry ‘in tailspin’ as federal government adopts new COVID-19 test rules


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirustravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read