Travellers are directed to take a mandatory COVID-19 test after arriving on a international flight at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, February 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Travellers are directed to take a mandatory COVID-19 test after arriving on a international flight at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, February 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Poll finds overwhelming support for Canada’s new travel restrictions

The urge for tougher travel rules comes as Canadians find their mental health on the wane

The vast majority of Canadians support tighter restrictions on international travel imposed by the federal government, a new poll suggests.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents agree with stricter measures that suspend flights to most sun destinations and require quarantining at a hotel at the passenger’s expense upon arrival in Canada, according to an online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies.

The poll also found that 87 per cent of respondents think the government should go further by banning international travel until there are several consecutive days of reduced COVID-19 numbers.

The wariness of foreign trips stems in part from more transmissible — and possibly more lethal — variants of the virus emerging abroad as well as homegrown politicians jetting off to far-flung beaches during the holidays, says Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

“We probably would not have gotten such high numbers before the whole talk about the South African variant, the Brazil variant,” Bourque said in an interview. “I think this probably jolted Canadians in a way.

“And then when you see people coming back with a very nice tan, you’re thinking, ‘Why am I making the effort and you’re not?’ And in certain cases it was MLAs and even (provincial) cabinet ministers,” senators and MPs, he noted.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last Friday that Canadian airlines have suspended flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30 and that returning passengers will soon have to self-isolate at a federal facility for up to three days after taking a PCR test at the airport.

The reaction differed depending on geography, with 91 per cent of respondents from Quebec and Atlantic Canada in favour of the new restrictions but just three out of four Albertans backing the clampdown, the poll found.

READ MORE: New travel rules leave flight options on U.S. airlines for Canadian sun seekers

The possibility of even stricter rules such as an outright ban on international travel raises questions around the flow of essential goods, many of which enter the country in the bellies of passenger planes, and around freedom of movement as guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution.

Section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that “every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada,” though all rights are subject to reasonable limits.

The urge for tougher travel rules comes as Canadians find their mental health on the wane, with just 29 per cent of survey respondents rating it as very good or excellent, the lowest since the pandemic began.

“We’re getting into the doldrums of February, and things are not improving. If you look from November to today, it’s a steady decline in self-perception of the state of your mental health,” Bourque said.

Conducted Jan. 29 to 31, the online poll surveyed 1,559 Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirustravel

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sicamous will have a new locally-owned option for grabbing a bite on the go as the Snacktastic food trailer opened at the start of March. (Kelly Hesleton/Facebook)
Curbside food trailer gives Sicamous a new dining option

Snacktastic owner Dawn Backs grateful for support from family and community

A B.C. government-run cannabis retail outlet was proposed for a building to be constructed at the Salmon Arm SmartCentres site. (File photo)
Province backs away from plans for Salmon Arm cannabis store

BC Cannabis Store was proposed to be in building to be constructed at shopping centre

COVID-19 numbers provided by Interior Health show Salmon Arm and Revelstoke in the 200-plus range from January 2020 to February 2021 while Vernon, with a larger population, tallied more than 600 over the 14 months. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
14 months of COVID-19 data show Kamloops cases doubling Vernon’s

Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021: 605 cases reported for Vernon, 243 for Salmon Arm, 1,246 for Kamloops

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Vancouver Island Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Riverside Centre includes a theatre hosting local plays, visiting musicians and dance troupes. It is also used for community events such as public meetings and fundraisers. Photo Town of Princeton
Penticton Fire Department pulled a kayaker from Okanagan Lake on Wednesday after he had fallen out of his boat and called 911. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment. (Western News - File)
Kayaker rescued from Okanagan Lake after falling in and calling 911

The Penticton Fire Department’s Marine Rescue pulled him out suffering from severe cold

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s general manager Dan Proulx, left, hosted a virtual Official Opposition town hall meeting with Shadow Cabinet Minister Small Business Pat Kelly, right, and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Tourism key to business recovery in North Okanagan-Shuswap: MP

Easing travel restrictions, limiting taxation and debt management critical to COVID-19 economic recovery

Thomas Kruger-Allen is expected to be sentenced Friday, March 5, 2021.
Sentencing expected Friday for 2019 Penticton beach attack

Defense wants 12 to 18 months for beach assaults that left one of his victims with brain injury

Most Read