17 November 2021
House of Commons
Re: PCR Testing at the Canada-USA Border
I am writing today on behalf of members of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce to add our voice to the growing calls for the federal government to end the requirement of PCR testing for fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada across the United States border.
Earlier this month, Perrin Beatty, the President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, spoke on behalf of the roundtable, calling the requirement “irrational” and that “The critical consideration here is that people be doubly vaccinated…If somebody coming into Canada can demonstrate that they’ve been doubly vaccinated, then they meet the criteria for being low risk in Canada.”
The latest figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada show that of all COVID-19 tests completed at the border on vaccinated travelers between August 9 and October 21, only 0.18 per cent were positive. Ending the requirement for PCR testing would align our policy with the U.S. and is the next logical step on our way back to normalcy.
Canada’s COVID-19 testing and screening expert advisory panel released a report in May that specifically recommended against pre-departure screening for vaccinated travelers. And Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Tam recently stated that the policy is being “actively looked at,” said chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
The limited public health benefits of testing are outweighed by the prohibitive cost of the tests (between $150 and $300), and the fact that children returning from the US must isolate for two weeks. In effect, Canada’s current rules mean that the border is still essentially closed for many Canadians. The limited public health benefits combined with the negative impact of the related restrictions have rendered this policy as little more than red tape that is slowing our economic recovery.
We ask that you raise these concerns with your caucus colleagues and push to have this policy ended as soon as possible.
Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce