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Travel during the continuing PANDEMIC


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5 minutes ago, boestar said:

My wife is currently in Cuba.

The only issues she will encounter is when she arrives back in YYZ because that is where stupidity breeds.

 

My brother just returned from Cuba. He came home to find his son's family in quarantine. His daughter-in- law came down with Covid. She hadn't travelled anywhere 

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Note the use of the new visa program to allow hiring of pilots from Australia...... 

US airlines are combating the pilot shortage by raising pay, lowering requirements, and hiring from Australia

 
  • Airlines are once again bracing for a shortage of pilots as air travel ramps up.
  • Pilots are in short supply and pilot training is costly, long, and arduous. 
  • Airlines are raising pay scales while offering massive sign-on bonuses and lowering education requirements for new hires.

Aviation's pilot shortage is back with a vengeance following a temporary reprieve during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Airlines are pulling out all the stops in an effort to attract talent and encourage more people to become pilots. And after decades of low pay, intense training, and furloughs, pilots are being given an opportunity to shape their own career path while getting paid more. 

Breeze Airways, the startup airline founded by David Neeleman of JetBlue Airways fame, has already raised the pay for its pilots after seven months of operations. New hire first officers flying Breeze's Embraer E190/E195 aircraft will see an 11% increase to $61 per flight hour, while first officers assigned the Airbus A220 aircraft will see a 24% increase to $68 per flight hour.

Many airline pilots who are just starting out will no longer have to endure low wages as they work their way up the ladder. Regional airlines, often the first stop for pilots that hope to fly for major carriers, are back to offering big sign-on bonuses to new hires.

Missouri-based regional airline GoJet Airlines is offering $20,000 bonuses to first officers, while pilots that have enough experience to join the airline as a captain are being offered $40,000. US regional carriers often have to fight the hardest to attract talent given the variety of competition. 

Pilots looking to make the jump over to a major carrier will now have fewer barriers to doing so. Delta Air Lines is reducing its education requirements for prospective pilots when applying by eliminating the requirement to have a four-year college degree.  

"While we feel as strongly as ever about the importance of education, there are highly qualified candidates – people who we would want to welcome to our Delta family – who have gained more than the equivalent of a college education through years of life and leadership experience," Delta wrote in its announcement. "Making the four-year degree requirement preferred removes unintentional barriers to our Delta flight decks."

United Airlines similarly prefers but does not require a bachelor's degree for its pilot applicants and American Airlines does not list any preference or requirement for having a degree. Independent flight schools allow pilots to earn their required licenses and ratings without the additional cost of a college education. 

"Ab initio" programs, where prospective pilots with no prior training can get all of their required licenses, are also growing in popularity in the US with airlines like United getting ready to open their own pilot academies in places like Arizona. Though pilots still bear the cost of training, they will have a set career course to fly for a major airline and have access to financial aid including loans

Some pilot requirements are outside of an airline's control, including the required number of flight hours a pilot must possess before being hired by a passenger airline and the Federal Aviation Administration's mandatory retirement age of 65. But not all airlines are looking for pilots who intend to stay for decades.

Breeze, for example, wants to hire older pilots who retired from the airline industry amid the pandemic, even if they only have a few years before reaching retirement age.

"Anybody who has three years left would be great because they bring in maturity, discipline, and lots of experience," Christopher Owens, Breeze's vice president of flight operations, told Insider.

Another lever that airlines including Breeze are pulling is hiring pilots from Australia under the E-3 visa program for skilled workers. Breeze has seen at least 120 applicants for the program, which more airlines are adopting to increase their supply of pilots. 

Airlines are realizing that they can't afford to not address the pilot shortage as they are already feeling its effects. Regional airlines flying on behalf of United, for example, have been forced to ground hundreds of aircraft as well as cut and reshuffle routes

"I'm a little less optimistic that that situation is going to reverse itself in the near term unless we do something to increase the supply of pilots," Scott Kirby, United's chief executive officer, said in a Senate hearing last month.

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35 minutes ago, neverminds said:

Why did the US single out Australia as the only country worthy of E3 visas for pilots? Canada is closer and has more than enough surplus pilots that are ready and willing to work in the states

They love the Aussie accents. 😀

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On 1/17/2022 at 9:24 PM, Rich Pulman said:

Too bad the FAA requires 1000 hours SIC in FAR 121 operations in order to be a PIC.

Hi, Rich - Would CAR705 (or other international equivalent) experience not meet those requirements?

Cheers _ IFG :b:

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9 hours ago, IFG said:

Hi, Rich - Would CAR705 (or other international equivalent) experience not meet those requirements?

Cheers _ IFG :b:

Hi Ian,

The long answer:

A friend of mine (a Canadian) is the CP at National Airlines in MIA. They were hiring A330 Captains and FOs a couple years back. I let him know that I’d be interested and could likely get a green card as my Mom and brother are American. Despite having 12,000+ PIC on the A330, he said the law would not permit me to operate as in the USA as PIC until I fulfilled the 1000 SIC under FAR 121 operations. That I had 9000 PIC under CCAR 121 did not satisfy the FAA’s requirements. He himself was a former AC pilot with A330 PIC time and despite being hired as the CP, he had to meet the 1000 SIC before he could operate as PIC. He told me this was all as a result of rule changes made following the Colligan crash in Buffalo.

The short answer: No.

I understand the intent of the law, but it seems kinda dumb when applied in these circumstances.

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Betting Omicron has peaked, Johnson drops COVID-19 rules in England

Alistair Smout Published Wednesday, January 19, 2022 10:11AM EST
 
 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of COVID-19 measures introduced to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England as he looks to live with the virus after a peak in cases.

Johnson's light touch approach to dealing with the highly transmissible Omicron variant saw him introduce work-at-home advice, more mask-wearing and vaccine passes to slow its spread, stopping short of more onerous restrictions seen globally.

While cases soared to record highs, hospitalizations and deaths have not risen by the same extent, in part due to Britain's booster rollout and the variant's lesser severity.

Johnson's pledge to avoid lockdowns and live with the virus contrasts with a zero tolerance approach to COVID-19 in China and Hong Kong, and tougher restrictions in many other European countries.

"Many nations across Europe have endured further winter lockdowns... but this government took a different path," Johnson told lawmakers, saying the government had got the toughest decisions right and that numbers going into intensive care were falling.

"Our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally... because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A."

Johnson said that none of the so-called Plan B measures would remain in England, as face masks would not be legally enforced anywhere, COVID-19 passes would not be mandatory and advice to work from home would end.

He cited Office for National Statistics figures that showed infection prevalence levels falling from a record high.

But scientists warned that cases could still turn higher again if people's behaviour returned to normal quickly.

"Removing Plan B measures in the face of extremely high levels of infection is a risk," University of Warwick virologist Lawrence Young said.

"Perhaps it would have been wiser to wait for another couple of weeks before removing the advice to work from home and the face coverings mandate. There’s no guarantee that infection levels will continue to fall."

PANDEMIC 'NOT OVER'

Johnson has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic overall, and Britain has reported 152,513 deaths, the seventh highest total globally. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have followed their own anti-coronavirus measures, generally with tougher restrictions, but have also begun to ease them.

Johnson hopes to reset his agenda following furore over the lockdown gatherings at his office, which has some in his party plotting to remove him.

The lifting of Plan B measures, along with the navigation of Omicron without resorting to a stringent lockdown, could help Johnson appease vocal opponents of restrictions in his own caucus amid the party unrest.

He said if data supported it, he may end the legal requirement for people to self-isolate if they test positive before the regulation lapses in March.

"But to make that possible, we must all remain cautious during these last weeks of winter," he said, warning of continued pressure on hospitals.

"The pandemic is not over."

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Passenger flights resume at St. John's airport, but officials say fix is temporary

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Published Jan. 19, 2022 7:11 a.m. MST
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Officials at the St. John's International Airport say services will resume today after a labour dispute with firefighters forced widespread flight cancellations Tuesday night and into this morning.

But they warn the fix is temporary.

The airport authority announced Tuesday that as of 8 p.m., all flights except cargo, medical evacuation and planes with fewer than 20 seats would be suspended because of staffing shortages at the airport firehall.

The authority said in a tweet today that normal commercial operations have restarted at the airport, but the solution to the staffing shortage is not permanent.

The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees claims that a "campaign of harassment and discrimination" against firefighters has stifled concerns around safety and regulatory compliance and ultimately thinned their ranks.

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan said in a tweet early this morning that federal mediator Barney Dobbin had been brought in and was working with the parties through the night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2022.

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Attempting to curb COVID-19 through mandatory travel testing like 'trying to stop mosquitoes in the summer': expert

Nicole Bogart

Nicole BogartCTVNews.ca Writer

@nlynnbogart Contact

Published Wednesday, January 19, 2022 11:03AM ESTLast Updated Wednesday, January 19, 2022 11:16AM EST
 
 

There are growing calls for the federal government to drop the mandatory arrival testing requirement for travellers, a rule experts say is doing little to impact the spread of COVID-19 while diverting sorely needed testing resources from provinces.

Ottawa is doling out thousands of PCR tests a day to randomly selected, fully-vaccinated travellers—including Canadians—upon arrival as part of its COVID-19 screening efforts.

  • But with the Omicron variant already driving unprecedented spread of COVID-19 domestically, Jason Kindrachuk, infectious disease expert at the University of Manitoba, says attempts to curb travel-related cases of the virus are akin to “trying to stop mosquitoes from circulating in the summer.”

“We already know we have a massive number of mosquitoes—you're not going to be able to do that,” Kindrachuk told CTV’s Your Morning Wednesday. “You can test for other species that may have a stronger bite or may be able to circulate more, but that doesn't mean that you have to look at all the mosquitoes that are coming in.”

According to statistics provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the test-positivity rate for randomly tested fully-vaccinated travellers is just above two per cent. Meanwhile, across Canada, the test-positivity rate is above 20 per cent.

This, at a time in the pandemic where many provinces have been forced to restrict molecular PCR testing, has sparked questions about the government’s use of testing resources, even prompting Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to pen an open letter to the federal government calling for changes to the testing protocols.

“From a resource standpoint, we have to appreciate where we are right now and we're already seeing limitations within the country with trying to be able to assess where Omicron is in our own communities,” Kindrachuk said, noting that Canada is in a very different place than it was in late November 2021, when Omicron was still isolated to certain regions.

“Now the question is, are you really stopping any potential additional transmission by being able to identify those cases [at the border]? And I think the actual answer is likely not.”

On Friday, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam admitted that the mandatory testing requirement is a “drain” on the system.

And while she stopped short of calling for an end to the testing requirements, she suggested that Canada should stop “sequencing” every COVID-19 sample from travellers given the global spread of Omicron.

“The whole world has Omicron,” Tam told reporters. “We could do sampling for the tests, instead of testing every single vaccinated individual coming from other countries. But, we will evaluate that over time.”

In a statement to CTVNews.ca, PHAC defended the requirements calling them “critical at this time of reduced capacity in health and other sectors.”

“This approach makes optimal use of the maximum federal testing capacity in that it identifies as many cases of COVID-19 as possible. Individuals testing positive are required to isolate, preventing onward transmission of the infection,” read the statement.

“The Government is mindful of the need to monitor the impact of its testing program, including sequencing levels, to ensure that the program works in synergy with the diagnostic programs of the provinces and territories.”

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The EU Removed Canada From Its Safe List & It Means Travellers Could Face More Restrictions

Helena Hanson  5 hrs ago
image.png.576de403b2bc52f1ae8d88e0df7fb6f6.png

The European Union has recently removed Canada from its safe travel list, which means Canadian visitors could face additional restrictions when travelling there.

On Monday, January 17, the EU shared an update confirming that Canada, Argentina and Australia would be taken off the list of places for which travel rules should be lifted.

It means passengers from these countries could be subject to additional travel measures if they enter the EU, although each member state is ultimately responsible for its own border policies.

According to Forbes, to stay on the green list a country must have no more than 75 new COVID-19 cases daily per 100,000 people within 14 days.

On the same day that Canada was pulled from the safe travel list, fourteen other countries were actually added to it.

This included Qatar, Colombia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates and China, among others.

The EU suggests member states should "gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders" for residents of these places.

It comes as the Omicron variant continues to impact the travel industry both in Canada and internationally.

On January 10, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its advice and warned Americans to avoid all non-essential travel to Canada due to its "very high" levels of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, WestJet announced even more cuts to flight services through February due to related staffing shortages and "cumbersome" travel restrictions.

Other Canadian airlines have made similar moves in recent weeks.

Canada's strict pandemic-related border measures remain in place and the country's global travel advisory is still active.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative p

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Globe editorial about AC/WS/GTAA request on testing (pretty much on airlines' side!):

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-on-mandatory-covid-19-testing-for-travellers-the-airlines-have-a-point/
 

Excerpt From The 'Globe:

On Monday, Air Canada, WestJet and Toronto’s Pearson International sent a letter to the federal and Ontario governments, asking for an end to mandatory airport PCR testing for international arrivals. Canada’s two largest airlines and the country’s largest airport have an obvious pecuniary interest in even a small loosening of travel restrictions. But on balance, what they’re proposing also appears to be best for public health ....

.... But public-health measures are supposed to about public health, not about claiming a Tony Award for best political theatre. And this pandemic has too often favoured political theatrics – Ottawa’s eagerness to feed the hysteria surrounding the Sunwing Sinners, for instance – over less dramatic but more substantive steps.
Canada should put in place an extensive program of random PCR screening of international arrivals, to act as an early warning system. But for now, this country’s quest to get through Omicron is largely a domestic fight. It makes sense to concentrate our limited testing resources where they can do the most good.

 

Cheers - IFG :b:

Edited by IFG
Move from wrong thread
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8 hours ago, Rich Pulman said:

.... The short answer: No.

I understand the intent of the law, but it seems kinda dumb when applied in these circumstances.

Agreed. I do remember that accident, but was more appalled at the training standards revealed, than the crew's logged experience levels. IAC, lack of reciprocal recognition for licensing validations is not unique to the US, but that's a particularly heavy-handed application.

Cheers, Ian :b:

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Biden administration suspending 44 U.S flights by Chinese carriers

By David Shepardson  1 hour ago

image.png.f7d7eca7dbb55f752eabd63706db7be3.png

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Transportation Department said Friday it would suspend 44 China-bound flights from the United States by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government's decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over COVID-19 concerns.

The Biden administration action came after Chinese authorities suspended a total of 44 United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines flights after some passengers tested positive for COVID-19.

The suspensions will begin on Jan. 30 with Xiamen Airlines’ scheduled Los Angeles-to-Xiamen flight.OBA_TRANS.png

The decision will cut some flights by Xiamen, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately comment.

The Transportation Department said China's suspension of some flights "are adverse to the public interest and warrant proportionate remedial action." It added that China's "unilateral actions against the named U.S. carriers are inconsistent" with a China-U.S. bilateral agreement.

The department said that if China revised its "policies to bring about the necessary improved situation for U.S. carriers, the Department is fully prepared to once again revisit the action." But it also warned that if China cancels more flights, "we reserve the right to take additional action."

The number of U.S. flights being scrapped has surged since December, as infections caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus soared to record highs in the United States.

Beijing and Washington have sparred over air services since the start of the pandemic. In August, the U.S. Transportation Department limited four flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capacity for four weeks after Beijing imposed identical limits on four United Airlines flights.

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On 1/17/2022 at 9:01 AM, UpperDeck said:

My brother just returned from Cuba. He came home to find his son's family in quarantine. His daughter-in- law came down with Covid. She hadn't travelled anywhere 

My wife got back from Cuba last night.  Fastest transit through YYZ ever.  Flight landed at 16:56 local and she was in my car at 17:30  PCR test and all.

 

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Ireland to drop almost all COVID restrictions

Majority of measures that have been in place for almost two years will be lifted on Saturday, prime minister says.

A group of women enjoy their beer while sitting at a table at a restaurant or bar outside in December
Ireland's government decided that bars and restaurants will no longer need to close at 8pm, a restriction put in place late last year when the Omicron wave struck [File: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters]
Published On 21 Jan 202221 Jan 2022
 

Ireland is to scrap almost all its COVID-19 restrictions on Saturday after coming through the storm of the Omicron variant that led to a major surge in infections, Prime Minister Micheal Martin has said.

Ireland had the second-highest incidence rate of COVID-19 in Europe just last week but also one of the continent’s highest uptake of booster vaccines, which has helped keep the number of seriously ill people well below the previous peak.

 

“We have weathered the Omicron storm,” Martin said in Friday’s televised address, in which he said booster vaccines had “utterly transformed” the situation in the country.

“I have stood here and spoken to you on some very dark days. But today is a good day,” he said.

The country has been one of the most cautious in the European Union on the risks of COVID-19, putting in place some of the longest-running restrictions on travel and hospitality.

But following advice from public health officials, the government decided that bars and restaurants will no longer need to close at 8pm, a restriction put in place late last year when the Omicron wave struck, or to ask customers for proof of vaccination.

Capacity in indoor and outdoor venues is also set to return to full capacity, paving the way for full crowds for next month’s Six Nations rugby championship.

Some measures, such as the need to wear a mask on public transport and in shops, will remain in place until the end of February, Martin said.

Can we live with coronavirus? | Inside Story

 

Ireland’s hospitality sector, which has been particularly hard hit by one of Europe’s toughest lockdown regimes, welcomed the decision.

Nightclubs opened their doors for the first time in 19 months in October only to be shut again six weeks later.

While the economy recovered rapidly last year, about a third of employers have chosen to defer tax payments and the wages of one in 12 workers are still being supported by a state subsidy scheme set to end in April.

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1 hour ago, Turbofan said:

Not a fan of the Libs but the title of the article is great phony news.  They can come but must pay the piper if they can not or will not abide by the current entry rules.   

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28 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

Not a fan of the Libs but the title of the article is great phony news.  They can come but must pay the piper if they can not or will not abide by the current entry rules.   

You do realize some people need to travel and not everyone can a afford 6K/person.

Canadians are getting burned by cancelled PCR tests.

You shouldn't need to be rich to have your Charter Rights upheld.

 

I agree with the title.

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18 hours ago, Turbofan said:

You do realize some people need to travel and not everyone can a afford 6K/person.

Canadians are getting burned by cancelled PCR tests.

You shouldn't need to be rich to have your Charter Rights upheld.

 

I agree with the title.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are travelling abroad despite Omicron

 

In December, more than 700,000 Canadian air passenger arrivals returned home from international travel

 
sophia-harris.JPG
Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Jan 23, 2022 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: 40 minutes ago
 
photos-pearson-international-airport.jpe
In December, 742,400 Canadian air passengers returned from abroad, according to Statistics Canada. (Sam Nar/CBC)
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Despite growing concerns across the globe last fall over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, Sandy Long and her husband departed on Nov. 28 for a 10-day vacation in Mexico. 

Long said they felt comfortable travelling, because they planned to take strict safety precautions. Plus, the couple hadn't gone abroad for two years due to the pandemic and were yearning to get away.

 

"Life is short," said Long, 58, of Richmond, B.C. "We needed to feel some warmth [and] we really missed Mexico."

It appears many Canadians have a similar attitude toward travel these days despite Omicron's fast and furious spread, which prompted Canada to repost its advisory against non-essential international travel last month.

Statistics Canada tallied 742,417 Canadian air-passenger arrivals returning home from abroad in December. 

When adjusted to account for recent changes in tracking air travel, that total is almost six times the number of arrivals for the same month in 2020, and more than half the total for pre-pandemic December 2019.

The increase in international travel is likely to continue: there were 216,752 Canadian air-passenger arrivals to Canada during the week of Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, according to the latest data posted by the Canada Border Services Agency. 

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Hopefully we will follow suit.

U.K. to lift travel test requirements for the vaccinated

Jill Lawless Published Monday, January 24, 2022 12:47PM ESTe

LONDON -- The British government announced Monday that it is scrapping coronavirus testing requirements for vaccinated people arriving in England, news hailed by the travel industry as a big step back to normality.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that "to show that this country is open for business, open for travelers, you will see changes so that people arriving no longer have to take tests if they have been vaccinated, if they have been double vaccinated."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the change would take effect Feb. 11, coinciding with a midterm holiday break for many schoolchildren.

"Border testing of vaccinated travelers has outlived its usefulness," Shapps said. "Today we are setting Britain free."

ourism and travel firms that have been hammered by pandemic restrictions welcomed the move, which makes the U.K. one of the most open countries in the world for international travel.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of airline industry body Airlines U.K., said it was "a landmark day."

"Nearly two years since the initial COVID restrictions were introduced, today's announcement brings international travel towards near-normality for the fully vaccinated, and at last into line with hospitality and the domestic economy," he said.

Johan Lundgren, chief executive of budget airline easyJet, said "testing for travel should now firmly become a thing of the past."

"It is clear travel restrictions did not materially slow the spread of omicron in the U.K. and so it is important that there are no more knee-jerk reactions to future variants," he said.

Currently, travelers who have had at least two vaccine doses must take a rapid coronavirus test within two days of arriving in the U.K. Those who are unvaccinated face stricter testing and quarantine rules.

Britain is also easing rules for the unvaccinated, who will have to take coronavirus tests before and after traveling to Britain but will no longer face quarantine.

Monday's announcement applies to England. The other parts of the U.K. -- Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland -- set their own public health policies but have generally adopted the same travel rules as England.

Coronavirus cases in Britain soared in December, driven by the extremely transmissible omicron variant, though hospitalizations and deaths have remained well below previous pandemic peaks. Britain has seen over 154,000 deaths in the pandemic, the second-worst toll in Europe after Russia.

Johnson's Conservative government is also lifting mask mandates and other restrictions this week, and is relying on vaccinations and widespread testing to keep the virus in check.

Britain has recorded more than 150,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest toll in Europe after Russia.

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Kargokings,

There is no ban on travel.  There never has been a ban on travel.  

Covid aside for a moment.  Non essential travel advisories are common place events from the government of Canada.  A very large part of Mexico has them on a permanent basis. At times those advisories have even included resort areas.

It is an advisory for the safety of Canadians.  Make good decisions with good information.  Know the risks.  But it is not a ban. It’s a recommendation. It’s not a ban because under the Charter of rights freedom, our ability to come and go is protected.  Think Cuba as an example of why this is so important.   The Canadian government simply can not ban travel.  They can only recommend.

Under the Emergency health measures the government did not ban travel.  Some thought they would or should.  But they didn’t.  Over riding the Charter was not an option the Liberals decided they wanted to take on.  
 

So instead of a ban on travel, the Liberals came out only with a recommendation not to travel.  Just like every other recommendation not to travel they put out. That left it to individual Canadians to decide for themselves.  Then they started playing games. In an effort to ply Canadians to make the decision the Liberals wanted, the Government brought in a series of travel disincentive rules to make it a hassle to leave and return.  
 

They are completely within the law to do that.  However if those disincentive rules become de facto you can’t return, the Government crossed the line.

That’s the point of the article.

 

 

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