The Government of Canada announced yesterday that it would continue its extraordinary COVID-19 border measures, including the use of the unpopular ArriveCan app, until at least September 30.
The GNCC is joined by tourism associations, municipal governments, and many others in calling for these measures to be scrapped.
“We have ceaselessly heard that these measures, particularly the ArriveCan app, are onerous and present an additional barrier to foreign tourists at a time when the tourism industry is struggling to recover from two years of restrictions,” said GNCC CEO Mishka Balsom.
“The government has said that these measures are having a positive impact on public health. We challenge them to prove it,” Balsom continued. “We have asked for the data, as have many others. The government has yet to provide it.”
Provinces in Canada are now entirely unrestricted, or close to it, with Ontario now having lifted all masking requirements save in long-term care and retirement homes. With other countries showing COVID-19 rates comparable or even lower than those in Canada, the GNCC feels justified in asking for data proving the effectiveness of the border measures.
“This is just another pain point for an embattled industry,” said Balsom. “We have widespread staffing problems, skyrocketing prices for supplies and materials, supply chain interruptions, and delays and confusion at airports and border crossings. We had hoped that the Government of Canada would have recognized these issues and acted to help the tourism industry.”
The GNCC has sent a letter to ministers and MPs of border communities to outline its position and to ask them to reconsider theirs. The Chamber had previously urged the Government of Canada to abolish the measures before their self-imposed June 30 deadline, and ran a community-driven “Scrap the App” campaign encouraging the government to abolish mandatory use of the ArriveCan app for entry to Canada.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business in Niagara, the largest business organization in the region and the second-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,500 members representing 50,000 employees. More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca.
Mishka Balsom, President & CEO of GNCC
Mishka@gncc.ca or 905-684-2361