Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Thursday, June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, on Thursday, June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Travel will have to wait, despite calls from Canada’s business leaders: Trudeau

Open letter to premiers, prime minister urges ‘safe’ reopening of travel corridors

Travel into Canada will have to wait a while longer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at a press conference Monday (June 22).

“Every step of the way, as we look at those next steps, we have to make sure we are keeping Canadians safe,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said he understood how “difficult and frustrating” the COVID-related travel bans are for many, but said moving too soon would just send Canada backwards in its fight against the virus.

“We know that reopening too quickly or careless would lead us to a resurgence that might well force us to go back to lockdown, to shut down the economy once again,” Trudeau said.

The Canada-U.S. border has been shut to non-essential travel since March 21, and is currently on track to remain closed until July 21, although the closure could be extended. Canadians have been told to avoid non-essential international travel abroad since mid-March.

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border closure to be extended until July 21

He pointed to supports brought in by the federal government, which include the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the wage subsidy, interest-free loans for small businesses and bridge financing for larger companies.

Trudeau’s words came after an open letter from the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable.

In the letter, CEOs from companies like Air Canada, WestJet, Scotiabank and TELUS urged the prime minister and premiers to take action on resuming travel throughout Canada, as well as internationally.

READ MORE: Cross-Canada group calls for reopening of travel, tourism

The CEOs said Canada was entering a new phase of its pandemic response where the country “must find a responsible way to co-exist with COVID-19” until a vaccine is found.

“This includes prudently and thoughtfully opening aviation and lifting restrictions on travel throughout all provinces of Canada, as well as from select countries,” the letter said. The business leaders pointed to other regions, like within the European Union, that have introduced “‘safe’ corridors or air bridges” for travel.

In B.C., officials have said travel is on track to resume within the province this summer. In the current phase of COVID-19 restrictions, British Columbians have been asked to avoid non-essential travel throughout the province, particularly to remote communities that do not have the health-care facilities to handle an influx of virus cases.

“I think the likelihood of us traveling inside of B.C. is very, very high,” Premier John Horgan said during a June 10 press conference.

Meanwhile, the travel industry has been hit hard by complaints amid the pandemic. Many international flights, and some domestic, have been cancelled or postponed due to the virus. Earlier this month, the Better Business Bureau said travel agencies, airlines and vacation rentals had the most negative feedback during the pandemic. Overall, the bureau received more than 53,000 complaints and reviews between March and May – a 280 per cent increase over a three-month period. Of those complaints, airlines and vacation rentals received 2,565 and 2,089, respectively.

READ MORE: B.C. tourism on track for in-province travel, John Horgan says


@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.

CanadaCoronavirus

Just Posted

BC Housing has brought in sanitation trailers to the former Mount Tolmie Hospital site so its current residents can access clean water, showers, sinks and toilets after a collapsed sewer pipe impacted water service to the building. (Google Streetview)
Mount Tolmie Hospital homelessness shelter using sanitation trailers after pipe collapse

Travelodge shelter residents faced intermittent hot water supply in late May, early June

Numerous Esquimalt residents can now build a detached accessory suite of up to 65 square metres in their backyard. (Township of Esquimalt)
Backyard suites now legal for some Esquimalt properties

One unit of up to 65 square metres now permitted for eligible residents

COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School, both on June 14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Two Saanich schools report COVID-19 exposures

Exposures reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School

Staff will be reviewing public feedback from second-stage designs for cycling infrastructure in James Bay, part of the City of Victoria’s 32-kilometre network. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria sends James Bay bike lanes choice to next phase

Design modifications based on community input to be delivered to council this summer

An eastern cottontail rabbit on the UVic campus. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Wild rabbits persist at the University of Victoria

Feral rabbits are still absent, but another non-native species has arrived on campus

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Photos displayed at a vigil for former Nanaimo outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found June 3 and whose death RCMP are investigating as a homicide. (News Bulletin photo)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Most Read