The federal government is poised to announce Monday that some border restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be relaxed, but "the finish line" will not be reached until there is a considerable increase in vaccination rates in Canada.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told in an interview that aired Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live that the modifications to border restrictions will be confined to a few measures, with all non-essential travel still discouraged. Blair stated that there would be "changes with respect to government-assisted hotels, possibly some implication on who would be subject to quarantine, what it means to be a fully vaccinated tourist, and what alterations can now be accommodated for those people who are, in fact, completely vaccinated."
Ottawa stated on Friday that existing border restrictions would be maintained for at least another month, until July 21, but that modifications would be implemented on Monday for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents. The policy adjustment comes as several Canadian provinces have met major vaccine targets, with more than 75% of eligible Canadians receiving at least one dose and more than 20% receiving two.
Mayors of Canadian border cities have repeatedly and loudly urged the federal government to provide more clarification. Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley told Barton that extending the limitations until late July made sense, but that improved communication is required. Elected politicians in the United States reacted angrily to the news of the expanded border procedures on Friday.
However, Canada will not cross "the finish line" until approximately 75% of eligible Canadians have been properly vaccinated, according to the public safety minister. That is the figure indicated by the Public Health Agency of Canada as the point at which substantial restrictions, such as those on indoor meetings outside of houses, might be safely eased, and it is the figure at which Blair stated that more "changes are feasible" at the border. He didn't say anything about the modifications.
Blair also stated that the government would continue to be cautious and watch the situation around potential sources of concern when considering adjustments to border policy. Border procedures, according to government officials, will adapt to changing epidemiological situations.