VANCOUVER – ‘No time soon’ was the message from Canada’s Prime Minister when recently asked about the Canada-U.S. border potentially reopening.
Trudeau stated that until cases of COVID-19 drop significantly, opening the border is a non-starter. That suits most Canadians just fine.
A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians largely unwilling to re-open the border in the short term, despite calls from Americans to do so, and even though the U.S. may be on pace to reach herd immunity via vaccination by summer.
Asked when they would open it fully to non-essential travel, more than half say either the fall (25%) or the end of the year (31%) is a reasonable target.
This, as Canada continues to impose restrictions on travellers arriving by air and land. Canadians support a hotly-debated measure: a three-day quarantine at a government-selected hotel – paid for at one’s own expense – for those arriving in this country via air.
Despite reports of travellers avoiding this requirement by finding ways around it, three-in-five (58%) Canadians see it as a “necessary” measure. That said, only half as many (30%) think the policy is effective at reducing the risk of COVID-19 to others.
Canadians are far more supportive of a mandatory two-week quarantine period for all travellers, regardless of their mode of return (80%), although one-third (37%) would exempt those who can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated on entry into Canada.
Asked when they think life will go ‘back to normal’, as it was pre-pandemic, 29 per cent of Canadians now say it never will. This proportion has risen eight points since January. Notably, those who say they will not be vaccinated are twice as likely to say this compared to those who have been or plan to be.
Three-in-ten Canadians (29%), led overwhelmingly by past Conservative Party voters (51%), say that the government should discontinue the three-day hotel protocol. Meanwhile, 52 per cent overall would keep the policy in place until at least September.
Half of Canadians (51%) would still support a full ban on international travel, though this is a 14-point drop compared to January levels.