Border-town mayors name for finish to Canada’s COVID-19 take a look at requirement for travellers


A number of border-town mayors on each side of the Canada-U.S. border held a digital information convention on Monday morning to name on Canada to nix its expensive COVID-19 take a look at requirement for absolutely vaccinated travellers. 

The occasion was held on the identical day the U.S. lastly reopened its land border to completely vaccinated leisure travellers, after 19 months of closure. 

However the border-town mayors mentioned they don’t seem to be absolutely celebrating simply but, as a result of an enormous impediment for travellers nonetheless stays: when getting into Canada, they need to take a molecular take a look at — reminiscent of a PCR take a look at — which might value lots of of {dollars}. 

“Now there is a pathway to cross, but that pathway is dampened by an unreasonable and dear requirement for a PCR take a look at to return to Canada,” mentioned Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., which borders Detroit. 

“This PCR take a look at requirement is a tough cease barrier for households to reunite aside from the wealthiest of Canadians, and that’s unfair.”

Check value will hamper tourism, group says

Dilkens was joined on the information convention by the mayors of Niagara Falls, Ont., Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Sarnia, Ont., in addition to U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins and a consultant for the Resort Affiliation of Canada. 

They argued that whereas the U.S. land border is now open, the price of Canada’s take a look at requirement will proceed to hamper a return to tourism on each side of the border.

“If you inform a household it’ll value you one other $1,000 to go to us and you will not have any extra to eat or a nicer place to remain, they select to not [come],” mentioned Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls, Ont. 

Mayor Jim Diodati of Niagara Falls, Ont., mentioned Canada’s expensive COVID-19 take a look at requirement deters some travellers from visiting the town. (Zoom/CBC)

Travellers getting into Canada should present proof of a adverse molecular COVID-19 take a look at taken inside 72 hours of their departing flight or deliberate arrival on the land border. The value of the take a look at can vary anyplace from $150 to $300. Typically travellers can get free or discounted assessments within the U.S., however they don’t seem to be obtainable in all components of the nation, and may not present outcomes inside a traveller’s time-frame. 

To assist ease logistical issues for Canadians taking quick journeys, Canada now permits folks crossing into the U.S. to take their take a look at in Canada after which use it upon their return — so long as it is lower than 72 hours previous.

However that lodging would not resolve the associated fee drawback, and Dilkens argues the 72-hour window defeats the aim of the take a look at requirement. That is as a result of, he mentioned, a Canadian may take their take a look at in Canada, be uncovered to COVID-19 whereas within the U.S., after which return house with no additional testing.

“The present system would enable somebody to take a PCR take a look at in Canada, cross into Detroit to cheer on the [Detroit Lions football team] with 65,000 different followers within the stadium, after which return to Canada utilizing the take a look at they took earlier than leaving,” he mentioned. 

“How is that take a look at of any use to anybody?”

Mayor Drew Dilkens of Windsor, Ont., attended a digital information convention with three different border city mayors to name for an finish to Canada’s COVID-19 take a look at requirement for travellers. (Zoom/CBC)

Travellers staying house

Canada’s take a look at requirement first sparked complaints earlier this month when the U.S. introduced it might reopen its land border to completely vaccinated travellers on Nov. 8, and never require them to take a pre-arrival COVID-19 take a look at. 

Though many Canadians are planning to go to the U.S. now that the land border is open, others say they’re staying put till the take a look at requirement is dropped.

“It is like an enormous wall has been put up there and I am simply not capable of climb over it,” mentioned Ted Hilton of Ingersoll, Ont. He is craving to drive to close by Portage, Mich., to go to household, however says he cannot afford the potential value of the take a look at to re-enter Canada. 

“I am 80 years previous, residing off of pension revenue, and it is simply not there within the funds.”

Ted Hilton of Ingersoll, Ont., says he isn’t travelling to the U.S. till he is assured he will not must pay huge bucks to take a COVID-19 take a look at to return house. (submitted by Ted Hilton)

In pre-pandemic instances, John Roberts and his spouse, Linda, would go on day journeys from their Toronto house to the U.S. about 4 instances a yr.

The couple had deliberate to drive to Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Saturday to do some purchasing, however cancelled their journey after realizing they’d must take a COVID-19 take a look at to return to Canada. 

“You have to pay $150 every roughly for a six hour journey,” mentioned Roberts. “The added value for the journey would not make sense. It will cease folks [from] going throughout.”

He mentioned the couple additionally backed out of the journey as a result of his spouse finds the PCR assessments uncomfortable.

“The swab up the nostril, she hates it.”

WATCH | Journey value rise as restrictions ease: 

Journey prices rise as borders reopen to worldwide journey

As borders reopen to worldwide journey, Canadians planning journeys are being hit with sticker shock, with the excessive costs for necessary PCR assessments, the tip of discounted airfare and rising rental automobile charges.

Canada reviewing take a look at requirement

At a information convention on Friday, Chief Public Well being Officer Dr. Theresa Tam mentioned the federal government is reviewing the take a look at requirement. 

“I do suppose that every one of this must be re-examined as we’re doing with all of the border measures,” she mentioned. “We needed to take a cautious, phased strategy.”

Tam supplied no timeline for when the federal government would end its overview of its border guidelines. 

Some medical specialists say the Canadian authorities ought to contemplate changing its molecular take a look at requirement with a extra handy and cheaper antigen take a look at. A lot of these assessments are usually much less dependable however could be carried out shortly earlier than a traveller enters Canada. 

“Doing an antigen take a look at on the airport might be much more correct than a 72-hour-ago PCR take a look at, since you’re catching folks which can be infectious at that second as they enter Canada,” mentioned Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious illnesses doctor at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.



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