Together with the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, seniors from across Canada are calling on the federal government to remove unnecessary and non-science-based obstacles to cross-border travel, such as the pre-departure PCR test for fully vaccinated travellers, that is disproportionately impacting senior citizens.
Travel is becoming increasingly difficult to reach for the average Canadian senior, says the Roundtable in a press release. It says the burdensome cost of a PCR test could add over $200 CAD per person, and this policy was intended to be temporary and is counter to the recommendations made by the federal government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel Report in May of this year.
Many countries have recognized that requiring pre-departure and arrival tests for vaccinated travellers is redundant and have exempted fully vaccinated travellers from testing requirements, including France, Portugal, Germany and the United Kingdom, the Roundtable says.
Although many had travel bookings lined up over the November-December period, the travel and tourism industry is bracing for cancellations.
The pandemic, vaccination status, and available science have changed; so too should the response and measures to keep Canadians safe while allowing the travel and tourism industry to re-open, it says.
“As the voice of more than 115,000 members, the Canadian Snowbird Association is concerned about the burden on Canadian travellers incurring high testing costs to travel. Based on science, other countries have removed testing for vaccinated travellers, making travel more accessible and far less cost prohibitive,” says Michael MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Canadian Snowbird Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and improving the rights and privileges of travelling Canadians. Seniors comprise a large chunk of Snowbird members.
“Bookings are on the rise, but the travel and tourism industry is bracing for cancellations. Confusion around the rules, the border and testing is creating an environment of uncertainty for travellers, especially for Seniors. It’s time for the rules to keep up with developments in science that will keep Seniors safe while allowing them to travel,” says Wendy Paradis, President of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies.