Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Visitors explore Peggy's Cove, N.S., July 4, 2020.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

As Atlantic Canada plans to open itself up to visitors again, the move also comes with calls for federal guidance on what domestic travel should look like as more Canadians get vaccinated.

Health Canada recommends against all non-essential travel internationally, but is silent on travel between the provinces. The department says it’s up to each province and territory to set their own rules for entry.

But with millions of Canadians preparing to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, and planning summer vacations, there’s a growing need to know what’s considered safe domestic travel. The country has never seen barriers to interprovincial travel like this before, and easing out of those restrictions may require a national road map.

Story continues below advertisement

Canada’s COVID-19 quarantine hotels are now mandatory for international air travellers. Here’s what you need to know

Tracking Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans: A continuing guide

Coronavirus tracker: How many COVID-19 cases are there in Canada and worldwide? The latest maps and charts

“As spring turns into summer, people are going to be moving around. We need federal guidance on what’s appropriate for travel. We should all be reading from the same playbook,” said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Toronto.

“Someone with one dose from Quebec should really behave the same as someone with one dose from B.C. We really need some standardization on what’s appropriate while we’re in this bizarre interim period.”

Atlantic Canada’s premiers are planning to reinstate a regional travel bubble on April 19, allowing residents to move between their provinces without the need to quarantine. Newfoundland and Labrador’s participation is conditional on its ability to continue to ease its provincial alert-level restrictions, after an outbreak on the Avalon Peninsula last month.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told reporters Wednesday night he’s hopeful the region’s borders could also be opened to the rest of Canada by early July. He added the provinces are looking for federal direction on vaccination cards, which could be used as a requirement of entry – something Ottawa has discussed for international, but not domestic, travel.

There are many questions around how a wider reopening should work. The Eastern premiers acknowledged a lot still needs to be sorted out, and said that opening could come with some restrictions.

“We still need to determine at the national table, sort of, what that looks like,” Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King told the CBC. “How we travel, what is required to travel and what documentation, if any, they will need. Will masking still need to take place? All of these different factors.”

Dr. Bogoch said once the vast majority of adults have been partly vaccinated against COVID-19, public-health concerns can be relaxed. The Atlantic provinces believe they’ll hit that mark by the end of June, if the vaccine supply is reliable.

Story continues below advertisement

When that happens, provinces should be able to make an informed decision about easing back on travel restrictions that have greatly hampered the economy and kept families from seeing each other, he said.

“That’s the whole point of vaccines,” Dr. Bogoch said. “We know there’s significant protection from just one dose. It’s not perfect, but it’s really good. We know the vaccine greatly reduces your risk of getting really, really sick.”

Mr. Higgs argued that after 75 per cent to 85 per cent of adults in his province have received one dose of vaccine, the need for travellers to self-isolate upon entry would be reduced, he said. He’s anxious to salvage a summer tourism season, and to allow New Brunswickers to travel, too.

“Once we achieve our herd immunity levels, then I’d say our quarantine requirements would ultimately disappear. When we have a population that is protected, then we obviously have less concerns about travellers who are coming and going,” he said, during a call with reporters.

“The quicker we can vaccinate, the quicker we can open borders and get back to life as normal.”

While Mr. King also said he’d like to open up to the rest of Canada some time this summer, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin was less willing on Thursday to put a timeline on when those travel restrictions could be relaxed.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t think we’re there yet,” he said.

Others have urged caution in the reopening phase, pointing out no provinces have announced any plans yet to vaccinate children. But children are at a significantly lower risk of serious health problems from COVID-19 than adults, Dr. Bogoch said. They’ve accounted for just 1.6 per cent of all hospitalizations, and six of the 22,500 deaths in Canada from the virus.

The Atlantic provinces closed their doors to the rest of Canada as a protective measure last spring. The region has fewer intensive-care beds, more poorly equipped rural hospitals and less capacity to handle severe outbreaks. That strategy helped the East keep infection rates low – but there will come a time soon when the tolerance for COVID-19 risks can be raised, Dr. Bogoch said.

In January, Manitoba also imposed a 14-day quarantine requirement for anyone entering from elsewhere in Canada. The tricky part for provinces now will be deciding when is best to ease up on those travel restrictions.

“At some point, you’ve got to have an off-ramp,” Dr. Bogoch said. “The key is finding that economic, public-health and epidemiologic sweet spot. And it’s a value judgment.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies