Airline trade groups are pushing the Canadian government to open their air border to more U.S. travelers. 

The National Airlines Council of Canada and Airlines for America, trade associations representing airlines in Canada and the U.S., sent a letter Friday urging Justin Trudeau’s administration to “swiftly” lay out a clear roadmap for a safe re-opening of air travel between the neighboring countries. 

“Safely reopening transborder air travel between Canada and the U.S. is essential for both nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic,” the letter reads, adding that air travel enabled $718 billion worth of trade between the countries in 2019. 

When will the Canadian border open for tourism?

The letter asks for a plan to be completed and announced by June 21, when the current Canadian border measures are set to potentially be renewed.

The U.S.’ northern border was initially closed to leisure travelers in March2020, with only trade and essential travel allowed. Nearly 15 months later, those traveling from the U.S. to Canada must still prove that they are crossing the border for essential reasons, and are required to test for COVID-19 in advance and quarantine upon arrival. 

► Travel updates:US borders with Canada, Mexico to remain closed to nonessential travel through June 21

The trade associations’ letter follows last week’s release of the latest report from Health Canada’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, which called for changes to the country’s border and travel policy.

The report was prepared by experts in epidemiology, virology and advanced data analytics, and argued that border measures “must evolve” to reflect the growing number of vaccinated people. The group recommended allowing fully-vaccinated travelers to avoidtesting and quarantining, ending hotel quarantines and reducing the length of quarantines for those not fully vaccinated.  

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last month that he would prefer to wait until 75% of the country is vaccinated before fully reopening the border.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, has said he prefers to wait until 75% of Canadians are vaccinated before opening the border. He suspects that will happen this fall.

As of Friday, 56.8% of the Canadian population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 5.7% had been fully vaccinated, according to the Canadian government’s website. In the U.S., 51% of the total  population had received at least one dose and 41% had been fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by USA TODAY.

But the advisory panel also noted that Canada is in the third wave of COVID-19, and believes “this must be taken into consideration when phasing out current border measures.”

Open up:Michigan takes stage in the fight to open the US-Canada border

I’m vaccinated. Which countries can I travel to? 

Other countries have forged ahead with airline recovery plans in recent months.

The United Kingdom, which began emerging from its latest lockdown last month, still requires Americans to quarantine for 10 days. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in April that his country would experiment with vaccine passports but first for its own residents. At the time, the Biden administration said the U.S. government won’t be

The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable (“The Roundtable”) is urging the federal government to immediately release an implementation plan based on the recommendations made in the COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel (Expert Panel) report, presented to the federal government last week. Canadians are doing their part in getting vaccinated; now it is time to provide clear, timely, and safe guidance on reopening travel and reuniting families and friends.

The Expert Panel was convened by the federal government to provide independent, science- and data-driven recommendations to the federal government on testing, border restrictions and quarantine measures. The report recommends eliminating quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers, implementing changes to testing and screening, and eliminating the hotel quarantine policy.

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With increasing vaccination rates and decreasing case counts, it is time for the federal government to announce a plan to implement the recommendations of the Expert Panel. Just as it was important to quickly put in place measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians at the start of the pandemic, it is of equal importance to remove restrictions that are no longer necessary.

The travel and tourism sector has worked tirelessly over the course of the pandemic to put in place measures that ensure the health and safety of travellers across the country. Further, Canadians have diligently followed public health restrictions by staying home and avoiding non- essential travel. Given the advances in science and safety, as well as the dramatic progress on vaccination in Canada, the safe restart of travel must be planned.

Many provincial governments have taken a scientific approach to reopening based on metrics, including vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity. As our economy begins to reopen, based on these metrics, one important catalyst for our recovery will be travel.
Travel enables businesses to grow and thrive, and also provides a lifeline for Canadians to maintain essential links to family and friends.

The Roundtable encourages the government to implement a vaccination certification process in line with global standards. The upcoming G7 discussions present an opportunity for Canada to work with the international community toward a common approach.

The Roundtable looks forward to working together with government to continue to improve safety standards and protocols. As part of that work, we encourage the government to heed the advice of its experts to:

– Eliminate the government hotel quarantine for all travellers;

– Eliminate pre-departure tests and quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers;

– Reduce quarantine for partially vaccinated travellers (after a test upon arrival) and unvaccinated travellers (after a test taken at day 7);

– Amend border measures in stages; and,

– Put in place a system to validate proof of vaccination for arriving travellers as soon as possible.

About the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable

The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector – including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, boards of trade and chambers of commerce across the country – committed to working together to

Health and travel restrictionsfor Canada need to remain in place a little longer, says Prime MInister Justin Trudeau. But there’s good reason for optimism.

“There is hope” for a “slightly better summer,” Trudeau told the media Tuesday. But the Prime Minister said restrictions need to stay in place until at least 75% of the population has at least their first shot and community transmission is better controlled through tracing, virus testing and tamping down on the spread of COVID-19.

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According to federal data, 40% of the adult population has had one shot already, the CBC rsays.

“We all know, in some places, cases are really high,” Trudeau said. “We can’t ease public health restrictions until cases are way down. We all want to have a summer where we can see our loved ones and invite our friends over for BBQs.”

“We can have that summer,” he said. “That’s what I’m excited about.”

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said case counts are “slowly declining” across the country but that the third wave is still going strong in several regions of Canada.

The Canada-U.S. border closure is set to expire on May 21 but will almost certainly be extended. The same is likely for the federal government’s controversial quarantine hotel program.

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TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is extending travel restrictions that make it mandatory for air travelers to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense when they arrive in Canada.

He’s also thanking the country’s two major airlines for extending a voluntary suspension of flights to Mexico and all Caribbean destinations until May 21. The measures were first announced in January.

Trudeau is reiterating that now is not the time to travel. He says Canada’s strict travel, testing, and quarantine measures are extremely important. But he notes international travel directly accounts for a small amount of cases in Canada and those restrictions are just one tool to fight the pandemic.

Canada is seeing a third wave of infections particularly in Ontario where Premier Doug Ford was slow in re-imposing lockdown restrictions.

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— Tulips, bluebells, cherry blossoms in bloom with fewer admirers

— Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW YORK — General Motors is joining the growing list of companies that will provide more flexible work options for its employees as more people get vaccinated amid the coronavirus pandemic.

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a post on LinkedIn on Tuesday that the automaker will allow its employees to have the flexibility to work where they can have the greatest impact on achieving the company’s goals, as long as the job lends itself to such a situation. Called “Work Appropriately,” GM says its approach is based on the belief that its employees are “capable of making smart decisions without overly prescriptive guidance.”

The announcement comes a month after Ford Motor Co. told about 30,000 of its employees worldwide who have worked from home that they can continue to do so indefinitely, with flexible hours approved by their managers. Ford plans to use a work-office “hybrid”: employees will commute to work mainly for group meetings and projects best-suited for face-to-face interaction.

Aside from Ford, Salesforce, Facebook, Google and other tech firms have said they’ll continue work-from-home policies indefinitely.

ROME — Italy has opened its latest coronavirus vaccination hub in one of Rome’s most iconic cultural spots: The Cinecitta film studios where “La Dolce Vita,” “Ben Hur” and other gems of Italian cinema were made.

Romans getting their shots Tuesday were treated to posters of movie stars and inspirational messages (“Be happy!”) from the likes of Sophia Loren and Roberto Benigni surrounding them in the waiting room of the vast studio-turned-vaccine center.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini was on hand for the opening, saying Cinecitta held a “glorious place” in the history of Italian film but also an important place for the present and future of Italian movie-making post-COVID.

The Cinecitta studios now join Rome’s main train station, auditorium and conference center as hubs for vaccinations in the Eternal City, part