TORONTO – Retail Council of Canada President and CEO, Diane J. Brisebois, issued the following statement following today’s confirmation that PCR testing will remain in place for Canadian travellers returning from the U.S. after more than 72 hours.:
“It is good news that the government is eliminating the need for people to take a costly molecular test before returning to Canada following a short trip to the United States – a burden that contributed nothing to public safety. Yet, this costly test will continue to apply to visitors coming into Canada, as well as to Canadians who have been abroad for more than 72 hours, whether or not they are fully vaccinated. This is at odds with the advice of the government’s Expert Advisory Panel, which recommended doing away with tests for fully vaccinated travellers.
Today’s announcement will have serious consequences for Canadian merchants, particularly those in communities near the US border and those relying on tourism. Typically, these local, often small or specialty businesses, have depended heavily on international traffic.
Just as the single most important season for the retail sector is set to begin – holiday shopping – Ottawa is making it easier for Canadians to cross-border shop, while maintaining restrictions that discourage fully-vaccinated Americans from vacationing or shopping in Canada. The 72-hour cut-off is also arbitrary as it is hard to understand how travellers are low-risk for 72 hours but become a danger after that.
Yesterday in Washington, President Biden alongside our Prime Minister pledged to “develop a renewed vision for joint management of the border, including increasing the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of bilateral measures, and applying lessons learned from the pandemic.” Less than one day later, Canada appears to have regrettably doubled down on its unilateral measures that continue to make our shared border costly and inefficient.”
About Retail Council of Canada
Retail is Canada’s largest private sector employer. Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members represent more than two thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association that represents small, medium and large retail businesses in every community across the country. As the Voice of Retail™ in Canada, we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants. www.retailcouncil.org
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