Premier Doug Ford wants Ottawa to clamp down on exemptions for unvaccinated travellers

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Premier Doug Ford is stepping up his campaign to block a discount for unvaccinated travelers, the Star has learned.

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Ford is expected to use Friday’s press conference to announce new “guidelines” for arrivals in Ontario.

“Dual immunizations who have a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test are not a problem,” said a senior Progressive Conservative official, speaking confidentially to discuss upcoming policy recommendations.

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“There’s a lot of leeway (for vaccination) right now,” the Ford advisory said.

“What we believe is public health recommendations (Ottawa) should be followed to keep us all safe,” the insider said.

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Recognizing that, because airports and borders are federally regulated, Ford’s call could largely be seen as “symbolic,” the official stressed, adding that the data is raising red flags.

There is growing concern that a significant amount of Ontario’s new daily COVID-19 cases could be traced to travelers who have not been vaccinated.

It has been extended because it comes against the backdrop of the government’s controversial plan to deny vaccination to essential front-line workers.

“This is a source of our frustration with the federal government,” said the provincial insider.

Indeed, Ottawa’s sanctions have flaws.

“Fully vaccinated foreign nationals may be permitted to enter Canada for discretionary (tourism) travel,” reads federal order.

“Foreign nationals who are not fully immunized will be allowed to enter only under specific circumstances,” it continues.

But “exempt passengers” on arrival don’t necessarily have to quarantine even if they don’t have any shots.

“Under certain circumstances, you may be exempt from certain requirements,” the federal rules say.

These include “frequent cross-border workers” employed in “critical infrastructure” such as health, transportation, manufacturing, energy, food supply, water security and communication technologies.

There is a lack of more federal enforcement relating to Queens Park.

“Even if you’re exempt from quarantine, you must follow strict requirements,” Ottawa’s rules state.

“You must: wear a mask at all times in public places, maintain a list of all close contacts for your first 14 days in Canada, monitor yourself for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.”

That “honor system” is worrying for Ford’s government, which is moving next week to lift pandemic restrictions to allow full indoor capacity at restaurants, bars, gyms and other venues.

It’s been three months since Ontario entered the current “phase three” of reopening, which limits indoor attractions to half capacity.

Under the new pandemic plan, key health limits such as intensive care unit capacity in hospitals, the number of daily COVID-19 cases, and vaccination rates will give businesses more certainty about whether they can stay open at full capacity – and the government enable reinstatement of restrictions. Should be.

“Our approach is to continue to be cautious, cautious, cautious. What we want is not to overload the health care system. Current indicators are that we will not have to back down, but we have to be careful,” said the top Conservative.

“We’re going to give clarity to everyone at the same time,” the source said, adding that the government made a mistake in last Friday’s surprising “outright” announcement, which removed capacity limits at major stadiums, concerts and theatres.

Restaurant, bar and gym owners – where proof of vaccination is also required – were furious at being singled out.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore will face questions about next steps for reopening on Thursday afternoon.

More than seven out of eight eligible Ontarians aged 12 and older have received a shot and five out of six have been fully vaccinated.

The Tories believe that nine out of 10 people will eventually choose to take their shots.

Robert Benji Starr is Queens Park’s bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie
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