The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transportation
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Dear Minister Alghabra,
The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is a national, non-profit and non-partisan association representing Canadian travellers from across the country. With over 110,000 members, the CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians.
On Friday January 29, 2021, the Government of Canada announced additional travel restrictions in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19 and its variants throughout Canada. While the exact details of these restrictions have not been publicized, these measures will include a mandatory hotel quarantine for all air travellers, including Canadian citizens, at a cost to exceed $2,000.
While the CSA is supportive of point of entry testing for COVID-19 at all Canadian airports and land crossings, we are firmly opposed to the imminent mandatory hotel quarantine measure to be imposed by the federal government. The CSA believes that the existing quarantine protocols should remain in place and travellers should be permitted to quarantine in their own homes. To force Canadian citizens to pay over $2,000 for three nights of accommodation in a government approved hotel is unreasonable and will be a financial hardship for many.
The federal government is modelling these new protocols on similar policies which were implemented in countries such as New Zealand. However, in New Zealand and other jurisdictions, exemptions have been established for certain travellers. In New Zealand, for example, citizens and residents who are returning to New Zealand for longer than 90 days or who left New Zealand prior to the regulations coming into effect are not charged for managed isolation. If the Government of Canada is unwilling to allow Canadian citizens and residents to quarantine at their homes, the government should at least implement a similar exemption and waive the $2,000 charge for Canadian citizens and residents who are returning to Canada for more than 90 days or who left Canada prior to the effective date of the mandatory hotel quarantine regulations.
The inclusion of an exemption for certain travellers will put Canada’s policy in line with other countries while at the same time deter future travel abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Canadian Snowbird Association