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British Columbians Holiday Travel Plans Threatened

COVID Restrictions Back in Effect for Re-Entering Canada

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos advises Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside the country for the next month. Duclos pointed to increasing case counts of COVID cases.

So far this is a travel advisory, not an ordered travel ban. The Minister made the same advisory for travel inside Canada.

Other Changes Announced

The Minister said the additional restrictions put in place for the 10 countries where COVID Omicron was first detected will be removed. Another change, Canadians or other travelers who have left the country for less than 72 hours will once again have to produce a negative COVID test, The test must be taken outside of Canada.

Complete Press Conference

This travel advisory comes despite data collected by Health Agency Canada that suggests very few travelers returning to Canada have actually tested positive for COVID-19.

Returning Travelers Test Results

- For fully vaccinated returning to Canada between September 10 and November 27th the positive rate is 0.14 percent

- For the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated for the same time period is 0.68% positive results.

Since August 9, 2021, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers are being tested.

Travel Advisory Not Based on Science: WestJet

The Federal announcement regarding travel has received strong opposition from WestJet.

"The WestJet Group today is expressing its strong opposition to the travel advisory issued by the Government of Canada. The targeted advice outlined today is not based on science and data and significantly undermines aviation’s proven safety record in response to COVID-19. These measures are a setback in Canada’s progress and its successful transition from relying on blanket advisories and policies."

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has stated publicly Canadians are growing weary of Blanket COVID restrictions. In Alberta, Public gatherings are limited to 10, while restrictions on private or family gatherings are lifted.

A detailed Alberta COVID response is available here.

Kenny and the other Canadian Premiers had a virtual meeting with the Prime Minister Thursday.

With the Holiday season fast approaching Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced new measures and an expansion of rapid testing. Starting December 17th Albertans will be able to pick up a free COVID test kit from local pharmacies.

Alberta: Rapid COVID Tests Available for Free, Starting December 17

Kits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure as many Albertans have access as possible, there is a limit of one box of tests within a 14-day period per person.

In British Columbia, Health Mnister Adrian Dix said he supports the recently announced federal guidelines. At a press conference, Thursday, Minister Dix was asked if British Columbians were going to see Holiday restrictions, You can view all of Thursday's press conference with Minister Dix here.

Minister Dix, "keep it close, instead of going to parties where they don't know people, they keep it close they keep with ones who are vaccinated, and if they are not vaccinated I can tell you don't travel at all"

In BC as of December 15th, 633,831 British Columbians have received the 3rd dose of a COVID vaccine. That represents 60% over 70, 45% over 65 and 14% over 12

An official announcement on BCs response is expected Friday, December 17th at 1 pm.

Check here for the announcement

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