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Canada set to welcome fully vaccinated foreign travellers next week – CBC.ca

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On Sept. 7, Canada plans to open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from across the globe, and let them skip the country’s 14-day quarantine requirement.

The rule change is significant, as most non-essential foreign travellers have been barred from entering Canada since the start of the pandemic. 

The federal government started to relax the rules last month, when it began allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter and skip quarantine. 

But some are questioning if Canada will actually go ahead with its current plans, because on multiple websites, the government continues to call Sept. 7 the “intended” or “tentative” start date for welcoming foreign travellers from outside the U.S.

  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.

“I’ve been kind of looking online every day, Googling to find out at what point is the government of Canada going to make a decision?” said Andy Green, of Halstead, U.K. He and his husband are set to fly to Vancouver on Sept. 9 for a 10-day vacation.

British couple Andy Green, right, and Robert Hull are arriving in Vancouver for vacation on Sept. 9, two days after Canada plans to start allowing fully vaccinated foreigners to enter the country. (Submitted by Andy Green)

When CBC News asked the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to confirm the start date, it implied Sept. 7 was indeed a go — unless the pandemic suddenly takes a turn for the worse. 

“Provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable, the government of Canada intends to open its borders for discretionary travel by travellers from any country who have been fully vaccinated,” said PHAC spokesperson Mark Johnson in an email.

Canada is currently entering a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, with case numbers trending upward since the end of July. Most of the country’s cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.

In Alberta, where the infection rate is currently the highest, some physicians are expressing concern over the rising number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

At a news conference in early August, the federal government said it considered fully vaccinated travellers low risk, and that those entering would still have to comply with strict travel rules. 

“Only fully vaccinated travellers [are] coming in. They have to get a test before they can even come to Canada,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer.

The government also said it’s ready to revise its travel rules, if necessary. 

“We’re taking a precautionary-phased approach to the border reopening,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer. “If we see any significant concerns, of course we can adjust accordingly.”

What are the new travel rules?

Although they’re still waiting for the government to confirm the start date, Green said he and his husband are excited about their trip to Vancouver, as they’ve never visited Canada. 

“We’ve been pretty much locked down here in the U.K. — the same as you guys have over in Canada,” said Green. “It’s been a … pretty difficult time, so we’re looking forward to travelling.”

Even though the couple is fully vaccinated, Green said he’s still nervous about crossing the border. 

“I’m kind of worried that we’re going to turn up at the airport — arrive in Vancouver — and for whatever reason, we’re going to have the wrong documentation.”

Foreign travellers will have to meet a set of requirements to enter Canada and skip quarantine. 

First, to be considered fully vaccinated, they must have received all required doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine 14 days prior to entering.

And within 72 hours before their arrival, travellers must submit their travel information — including vaccination documents in English or French only — using the ArriveCAN app or by registering online.

Land travellers must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of planned entry to Canada. Air travellers must take such a test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their final flight to the country.

There are also special requirements for travellers arriving from India or Morocco. Due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in both countries, the federal government has suspended all direct passenger flights from India until Sept. 21 and from Morocco until Sept. 29

Currently, air passengers from those countries can only enter Canada if they show proof of a negative test taken in a different country and depart from that country to come to Canada. 

New guidelines for unvaccinated children

Unvaccinated foreigners who are minors will be allowed to enter Canada with their fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but those 12 or older must quarantine. 

Unvaccinated children under 12 can skip quarantine, but must follow a strict set of rules for 14 days. 

WATCH | Americans reunited with loved ones at Canadian border:

Joyful reunions, long lineups as Canada reopens border to vaccinated Americans

25 days ago

There were many joyful reunions on the first day that Canada allowed discretionary travel from the U.S. for people who are fully vaccinated. But it also resulted in long lineups at land border crossings. 2:57

For example, children must avoid all contact with people, such as seniors, who can be more susceptible to falling seriously ill from COVID-19. Children must also avoid crowded settings, such as schools, camps, daycares, amusement parks and sporting events.

They can, however, visit “essential settings,” such as pharmacies or grocery stores, if wearing a mask and accompanied by their guardians. 

According to the government, children — and their parents — who don’t comply could be transferred to a quarantine facility and face fines, or even imprisonment.

Provincial vaccine passports

Another hurdle travellers to Canada may face is having to prove their vaccination status to enter certain venues.

In Quebec and Manitoba, people must show proof of vaccination to gain entry to many non-essential locations and activities. Ontario plans to soon implement a similar vaccine passport program, and British Columbia will put one into effect on Sept. 13.

Jimmy Staveris, left, manager of Dunn’s Famous restaurant in Montreal, scans the QR code of a client as Quebec’s COVID-19 vaccine passport comes into effect. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

For Green and his husband, that means four days after they arrive in Vancouver, they’ll be required to show their vaccination documents, along with their passports, at restaurants, concerts, sporting events and nightclubs. 

But Green said he was happy to hear the news.

‘I don’t want to be dining or attending a bar/club with others who are unvaccinated.”


Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.


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Citi hires Milovanovic from Goldman to head Americas financials M&A group

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Citigroup Inc is hiring Steve Milovanovic to head its investment banking unit which focuses on mergers and acquisitions by financial institutions in the Americas, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Milovanovic will join from Goldman Sachs Group, where he was co-head of M&A for the financial institution’s group (FIG) in the Americas, said the memo, the contents of which were confirmed by a Citigroup spokesperson.

“Steve’s experience, judgment and client relationships will further strengthen Citi’s strategic advisory capabilities,” the memo said, noting that Milovanovic will be based in New York.

Milovanovic, who has also worked at Credit Suisse Group in his banking career, has more than 20 years of dealmaking experience, with a focus on financial services.

 

(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Writing by David French; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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GM extends EV Bolt production halt to mid-October

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) –General Motors Co said on Thursday it will extend a shutdown of a Michigan assembly plant to mid-October following a new recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles over battery issues after 12 reported fires.

The largest U.S. automaker said the extension of the production halt at its Orion Assembly plant will go through at least Oct. 15. GM also said it was cutting production at six other North American assembly plants because of the ongoing semiconductor chips shortage.

GM said it will not resume Bolt production or sales until it is satisfied that the recall remedy will address the fire risk issue. It said Thursday it had reports of 12 fires and three injuries.

GM shares were largely unchanged in late trading.

GM in August widened its recall of the Bolt to more than 140,000 vehicles to replace battery modules, at a cost now estimated at $1.8 billion. The automaker said it would seek reimbursement from battery supplier LG.

It is not clear how long it will take GM to obtain replacement battery modules for recalled vehicles and whether it will have diagnostic software that will allow it to certify some modules do not need replacing.

GM said the additional three-week production halt at its Bolt plant comes as it continues “to work with our supplier to update manufacturing processes.”

Earlier this month GM was forced to halt production at most North American assembly plants temporarily because of the chips shortage.

The new production cuts include a Lansing, Michigan, plant that builds the Chevrolet Traverse and the Buick Enclave.

GM is also cutting production of SUVs like the Chevrolet Equinox, Blazer and GMC Terrain at plants in Mexico and Canada. It will also make further production cuts at Michigan and Kansas plants that make Chevrolet Camaro and Malibu cars.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday it plans a Sept. 23 White House meeting with automakers and others “to discuss the ongoing global chip shortage, the impact the Delta variant has had on global semiconductor supply chains and the industry’s progress toward improving transparency.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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Controversial question in English debate may have galvanized Bloc voters – CBC.ca

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At a bowling alley in Montreal’s east end on a weekday afternoon, Réal Desrochers is playing in his weekly league and also considering his choices in next week’s federal election.

Desrochers had been planning to vote Liberal, but a key moment in last Thursday’s English-language leaders’ debate galvanized identity sentiments in Quebec and spurred him to change his mind and choose the Bloc Québécois led by Yves-François Blanchet. 

“For me, it’s because the Bloc will balance the situation in Ottawa,” Desrochers said. “I know he won’t form a government, but he will defend Quebec [in Parliament].” 

Desrochers called the moment “a direct attack on Quebec, and I don’t like it.”

Réal Desrochers says he was planning to vote Liberal this election but changed his mind and decided to vote for the Bloc Québécois after the English debate. (Alison Northcott/CBC)

Last Thursday, at the beginning of the English leaders’ debate, moderator Shachi Kurl asked Blanchet why he supported bills 21 and 96 — respectively, Quebec’s secularism law and its proposed new law to protect the French language.

“You denied that Quebec has problems with racism yet you defend legislation such as bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones and allophones,” asked Kurl.

“Quebec is recognized as a distinct society, but for those outside the province, please help them understand why your party also supports these discriminatory laws.”

Blanchet shot back, saying, “The question seems to imply the answer you want.”

“Those laws are not about discrimination. They are about the values of Quebec,” he said. 

WATCH | Quebec premier criticizes debate question on secularism law:

Legault slams ‘ridiculous’ question on Quebec secularism, language laws during federal debate

6 days ago

Quebec Premier François Legault slammed a controversial question posed to Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet on the province’s secularism and language laws during last night’s English federal election debate 0:51 

The exchange had the effect of reviving an old wound, leaving Quebecers feeling disrespected and misunderstood by the rest of Canada, according to several experts interviewed by CBC.

It created a situation in which a debate that is typically almost ignored in Quebec may have changed the game for the federal election on the ground.

A bounce for the Bloc

The Bloc Québécois has risen from its slump in the polls back to a level of popularity similar to what it enjoyed during the 2019 election, in which it experienced a dramatic comeback, winning 32 seats after being reduced to 10 in the previous election.

According to a Léger poll published earlier this week, the party went from 27 per cent to 30 per cent of voter support in the province after the English debate.

“It ignited Quebec’s identity sentiments,” said Guy Lachapelle, a political science professor at Concordia University in Montreal. 

“Quebecers are sick of Quebec-bashing in general.… I think there is a misunderstanding of the major issues and debates in Quebec.”

WATCH | Quebec columnists explain why the English debate angered some Quebecers:

How did Quebec react to the English federal leaders’ debate?

5 days ago

Yves Boisvert, columnist at La Presse and Emilie Nicolas, columnist with Le Devoir join Power & Politics to discuss the English federal leaders’ debate. 4:42

Lachapelle doubts the increase in Bloc support will make a huge difference in which party ends up forming a government, though it minimizes the Liberals’ and Conservatives’ already slim chances of forming a majority and reduces the NDP’s chances of making gains in the province to almost nil. 

For Christian Bourque, executive vice-president at Léger, though, that small bounce — accompanied by the Liberals surpassing the Conservatives in the polls this week despite an endorsement of Erin O’Toole by Premier François Legault  — could lead to surprises Monday night. 

“We’re all in these sort of dominoes because the race is so tight,” Bourque said.

There are about 15 three-way races between the Bloc, Liberals and Conservatives, he said.

“Since 2011, Quebec is, around Canada, probably the region where we have the most strategic voters, who will change alliance depending on how they feel the race is going,” Bourque said.

Montrealer Lise Thériault says she decided to switch her vote from NDP to Bloc Québécois after the English-language leaders’ debate. (CBC)

Lise Thériault says she has voted for the NDP since the so-called orange wave in 2011, but this time, she went to an advance poll to vote for the Bloc the day after the English debate. 

“Telling me, at 70 years old, that I’m a racist because I want to be proud of my French language? Non, ça marche pas ça. It doesn’t work,” Thériault said, switching easily between English and French.

“I was insulted, and Monsieur Blanchet did a good job. I’m behind him 100 per cent.”

Lachapelle says many Quebecers had a similar reaction. He, too, thinks English-speaking Canadians are misinformed about the nuances of Quebec issues.

“We typically have a pretty good idea of what’s happening in other provinces in Quebec, but the reverse is not always true,” he said.

Shophika Vaithyanathasarma is the Bloc Québécois candidate in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, a riding that has been held by NDP candidate Alexandre Boulerice for 10 years. (CBC)

Thériault lives in the Montreal riding of Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, the NDP’s last seat in the province, held by incumbent Alexandre Boulerice for the past 10 years. She said that this year, she was proud to vote for the Bloc’s 21-year-old candidate, Shophika Vaithyanathasarma. 

In an interview with CBC this week, Vaithyanathasarma said her own feelings about Bill 21 are complicated. 

She supports the bill but is concerned that there is not enough diversity of candidates and politicians who are part of the conversation about it. 

“That’s one of the reasons I’m involving myself in politics: none of the people who are talking about the bill are racialized,” Vaithyanathasarma said. “I seriously think we have to listen to the citizens that are concerned.”

Vaithyanathasarma, whose parents immigrated from Sri Lanka, says minorities should not be excluded from the discussion. 

“That is one of the biggest mistakes we could make,” she said, smiling.

Mireille Paquet, who holds the research chair on the politics of immigration at Concordia University, told As It Happens the question served Blanchet because “it allowed for Blanchet to speak as if he was representing all of Quebecers, and as if Quebecers were all united around these pieces of legislation.”

Premier Legault’s controversial gambit

The conversation about the debate has overshadowed another significant development in the federal race in the province.

Hours before the English debate, Legault took a public stance against Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, saying Quebecers should “beware of three parties: the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Green Party.”

Legault was irked by those parties’ intentions to intervene in health-care matters, which are under provincial jurisdiction, and said, “For the Quebec nation, Mr. O’Toole’s approach is a good one.” 

WATCH | Liberals react to Legault’s endorsement of O’Toole:

Liberals fight back after Legault’s Conservative endorsement

3 days ago

The Liberal party is fighting back in Quebec following Premier Francois Legault’s endorsement of a Conservative government, including speaking out against the controversial Bill C21. 2:33

But Lachapelle, the Concordia professor, says Legault’s endorsement could backfire. Many Quebecers have grumbled about being told who to vote for. The Conservatives have lost some ground in Quebec since the endorsement and are now polling at 18.4 per cent, according to 338Canada founder Philippe Fournier. 

The voters of Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec party are generally split between voting Bloc, Liberal and Conservative at the federal level. Legault’s gamble may have alienated a good portion of them, Lachappelle said. 

“Legault risks losing a certain amount of his base, especially if the Conservatives win and don’t deliver [on their promises to Quebec].”

Still, as the dust settles following the debate and its controversy, the polls suggest that Quebecers may end up voting along the same lines as they did in 2019.

“I’m under the impression we’re going to have a similar result as the last election,” he said.

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