Following the federal government’s announcement that it was easing quarantine restrictions for Canadians and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated beginning July 5, the industry’s response has been pretty clear.

The changes, while a small step, are disappointing because they don’t go far enough and fail to outline a clear and science-based plan.

“It was a step forward but only in the context that aviation has been at Stage Zero on the recovery continuum since March of 2020, when all these measures went into effect in the initial stages of the pandemic,” says Mike McNaney, president and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC).  “It’s a small step forward and we certainly think it’s a missed opportunity.  It should have seen a lot more detail and a lot more clarity for consumers and for the industry.”

McNaney told Travel Courier that NACC, which represents the country’s largest airlines, including Air Canada, Air Transat, Jazz Aviation and WestJet, hoped Canada’s restart plan would be based on Health Canada’s Expert Advisory Panel report addressing all aspects of travel across vaccinated, partially and non-vaccinated travellers.

“There was no change to the border, there was no change to non-essential travel, there was no information with respect to inbound international arrivals for fully vaccinated travellers, there are very many details that we still need to see,” he said.  “What we’re dealing with now is all these piecemeal announcements. We don’t have a plan, we have a puzzle. We have these various piecemeal announcements that the industry is trying to figure out how all this fits together and what it means.”

McNaney pointed to the UK as an example of what’s needed in Canada with a clear restart plan with key dates to provide consistency.