March 7, 2022
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a motion will be presented in the legislature to call on Ottawa to end “pointless” COVID-19 travel measures.
In a six-minute video posted to Twitter Sunday afternoon, Kenney said pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements and vaccine mandates had served their purpose.
As jurisdictions learn to live with the disease, Kenney added that the measures now hurt the economy and add little to no measurable public health benefit.
“It’s time for Justin Trudeau to stop the pointless federal COVID travel restrictions,” the premier said. “We can’t allow the division, the obstacles and the barriers of constantly changing health policy to hold our society back indefinitely.”
Federal regulations mandate travellers 12 years or older to be vaccinated to board flights and VIA Rail trains.
Kenney quoted several public health experts from across Canada and the world who say that vaccine passports are no longer effective as a tool when they consider fully vaccinated as receiving two doses instead of three due to the Omicron variant.
“Alberta has already dropped almost all of our public health restrictions, and we’ve done so safely,” he said.
“We’ve seen data in Alberta and from around the world that points to the same thing: that the worst of COVID is behind us, and we can focus on getting our lives back to normal.”
Federal travel restrictions are hurting our economy with no measurable public health benefit.
It's time to learn to live with COVID, and that means ending unnecessary restrictions.
We will be introducing a motion calling on Ottawa to drop pointless travel restrictions. pic.twitter.com/E0TG3kFK33
— Jason Kenney 🇺🇦 (@jkenney) March 6, 2022
The premier said while the need to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and potential future waves remains, new pharmaceutical tools, treatments, and vaccination rates offer protection to allow the resumption of travel without pre-departure testing or vaccine passports.
“The pre-departure testing requirement is now,” Kenney said, “of very questionable value.
“It’s just another way of holding back the hundreds of thousands of people who work in our travel and tourism industry with no measurable public health gain,” he added.
According to national vaccine data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Alberta has the lowest number of people in all Canadian provinces to be fully vaccinated.
Just over 75 per cent of the total population in Alberta has received two doses. In comparison, all other provinces except Saskatchewan and Manitoba have more than 80 per cent of their respective populations fully vaccinated.
Seventy-nine per cent of Manitobans and 76 per cent of those in Saskatchewan have received two doses of vaccine.
The national average for vaccination with a booster dose is just below 46 per cent, while Alberta has more than 35 per cent of the province’s population with a third shot.