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Canadians ditching summer vacations in response to COVID-19 pandemic, survey finds –



For Heather Greenwood Davis, jet-setting is not only a way a life but a way of making a living. For nearly two decades, she has travelled all over the world as the blogger behind and a travel writer for various publications.

“I started writing about travel when I was pregnant with my oldest. That was 18 years ago. We decided then that we weren’t going to wait for travel; we were going to take the kids wherever it was we wanted to go, ” Greenwood Davis said.

“When they were six and eight we set out on a year-long trip around the world. We hit 29 countries on six continents in that year and it was an incredible experience. We have been travelling ever since.”

That is, until March, when the Canada-U.S. border closed and various governments restricted Canadians’ mobility in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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READ MORE: Is it safe to go on vacation this summer? Experts break down travel options

Greenwood Davis has never spent so much time at her Markham, Ont. home. While she has cancelled numerous trips — including a quick visit to Atlanta and Charlotte and a month-long family adventure to B.C. — the travel limitations haven’t stopped her from dreaming of quick getaways close to home.

“As the summer progresses, we are looking at Prince Edward County and the 1000 islands, Thunder Bay – I’ve never been to Thunder Bay.”

How COVID-19 is changing summer vacation

How COVID-19 is changing summer vacation

Rather than adjusting their travel plans, some Canadians are forgoing travel altogether.

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A survey conducted by The Vanier Institute of the Family found 59 per cent of adults living with children had to change travel plans due to COVID-19 and 72 per cent of parents reported it was “unlikely” they would take a vacation in 2020.

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“First of all, historically — pre-COVID — people would go on vacation in order to spend time with their families. They have had an abundance of time with their families in the last few months and so that draw is not there,” said Nora Sprinks, CEO of The Vanier Institute of the Family.

“And then there’s all the sort of obvious ones: financial insecurity/instability, needing to be close to home in order to manage all the things related to COVID or returning to place of employment or returning back to school in the fall.”

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Spinks says Canadians typically make family decisions based on choice and circumstance and the pandemic has created limitations on both of those things.

“As different places open up, different opportunities will present themselves and families will slowly but steadily and surely start to reconnect.”

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Jordan Friesen, national director of workplace health for Canadian Mental Health Association, encourages Canadians to take some sort of break this summer, even if they need to make some compromises.

“A good friend had some wisdom in a common saying that the way he liked to disconnect was to do something completely different from what he did every day,” Friesen said.

READ MORE: Kids have been stuck home for weeks. Here’s how to ease them back into the world

“There’s certainly some inherent wisdom in that and it’s backed up by a lot of research showing that we are most able to be productive and contribute to the work we want to do when we take time away to look after ourselves.”

Looking at a summer vacations in Canada? Here’s what provinces are open for tourism this summer

Looking at a summer vacations in Canada? Here’s what provinces are open for tourism this summer

“That would certainly be my encouragement to Canadians over the summer, whether it’s the seven-day vacation you planned or taking a couple extra long weekends, that time off is critical for your ability to do your best work when you are at work.”

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Greenwood Davis plans to explore her own province and, potentially, unfamiliar parts of Canada as restrictions continue to ease. COVID-19 may have put a wrench in her schedule, but it hasn’t affected what truly puts the joy in each journey: her family.

“It’s the idea that you are out there with the people you love.

“You’re having a great time, there’s something new to see, that’s key for us. Not so much if you have crossed a border or hopped on a plane.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nearly 5000 U.S. citizens tried to enter Canada for shopping, recreation amid pandemic: CBSA – CTV News



According to new data from the Canada Border Services Agency, more than 10,000 U.S. citizens have been turned away at the Canadian border during the pandemic — and almost half of them were hoping to enter Canada to shop, go sightseeing or simply for recreation.

According to new figures sent to by the CBSA, 10,329 U.S. citizens have been turned away from our shared border between March 22 and July 12. More than a quarter of them were barred from entering after revealing they were coming to Canada to sightsee, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While half of the U.S. citizens were turned back for “other” reasons, which the CBSA did not expand on, a little over 2,700 citizens had to turn back when they said they were hoping to cross the border for “tourism” or “sightseeing.” More than 1,200 were rejected after revealing their trip was recreational in nature.

More than 500 Americans were sent back home after they said they were coming to Canada to shop, despite physical distancing measures that have prevented Canadians themselves from frequenting their own retail stores.

Canada shut its borders to foreigners in mid-March, initially exempting U.S. residents from the new rules. But within days the Canada-U.S. border had also shuttered to all non-essential travel, an agreement that sources told CTV News on Tuesday would be extended to August 21.

The current agreement has exemptions in place for the flow of trade and commerce, as well as temporary foreign workers and vital health-care workers such as nurses who live and work on opposite sides of the border. However, tourists and cross-border visits remain prohibited.

It’s not just Americans who have been turned away.

From March 22 to July 12, more than 800 non-U.S. foreign nationals were turned away at various ports of entry because they were hoping to do some shopping in Canada. More than 500 were turned away because their visit to Canada was for tourism, sightseeing or recreational purposes.

“All persons arriving in Canada at an air, land, marine or rail border will be asked about the purpose of their visit and whether they are feeling ill or unwell,” CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said in a statement emailed to

However, despite these efforts, some U.S. citizens have made their way across the border and been fined in Canada after failing to follow public health rules. A Florida couple was issued provincial offence notices and each received a $1,000 fine after they entered Canada in Fort Erie to attend a seasonal property on July 3. The two did not comply with the 14-day period of self-isolation after entering the country.

Another American couple, who entered Canada on June 24 near Thunder Bay, Ont., were also fined for breaking quarantine rules. They were spotted multiple times in an Ontario town, despite being told to isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.

While there is an exemption allowing Americans to travel through Canada to reach Alaska, some U.S. citizens have been caught using this loophole to break Canadian rules. The Alberta RCMP issued six tickets to American travellers who decided to stop near Lake Louise for long hikes in the park in mid-June.

According to Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo, most travellers arriving in Canada have been willing to play by the rules. However, he had a message during his Tuesday press conference for those who are considering breaking COVID-19 precautions.

“If you are coming from outside of Canada, please understand all of the efforts that Canadians have done inside of Canada to flatten the curve and to make sure that the transmission of the virus is as low as possible,” Njoo said.

“Please do your part.”

With files from CTV News’ Mahima Singh

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No arrests, few fines under Canada's federal quarantine laws, says public health agency –



Out of the more than two million people who crossed the border into Canada since this country implemented strict quarantine laws, no one has been arrested and just a handful have been fined for breaking the two-week isolation rule — figures the Public Health Agency of Canada says show the current strategy is working.

While international travel has plummeted during the novel coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people have driven or flown into Canada since the start of the crisis.

Most people who cross into Canada have to self-isolate for 14 days, whether they have symptoms of COVID-19 or not. That order came into effect in late March when global cases of COVID-19 were climbing rapidly; it was extended late last month. 

If a border agent suspects that a returning traveller is not going to comply with the rules, they flag the Public Health Agency of Canada, which then asks police to follow up. During the pandemic, the RCMP has been running a national operations centre which acts as a dispatch centre for all police agencies in Canada, referring follow-up calls to local police.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says that as of July 9, it had sent the RCMP 21,422 referrals — but only a small minority required a physical police check. Similar numbers were first reported by CTV News.

The number of referrals has grown since May, when PHAC sent 2,198 referrals to police.

No arrests have resulted from PHAC-requested physical verifications and nine tickets have been reported for offences under the Quarantine Act, said PHAC spokesperson Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge.

“Our measures are not intended to be punitive,” Legault-Thivierge said in an email to CBC News.

“We have found that Canadians are responsive to their obligations and dedicated to protecting public health.”

The RCMP, which policies regions in eight provinces and all three territories, has issued six of those fines, which ranged from $400 to $1,000.

“Since these are fines and not charges, no additional details are available,” said RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival.

The Ontario Provincial Police said it has issued two tickets in the province’s northeast region.

‘It’s working well’: Njoo

Legault-Thivierge cautioned the federal agency’s figures could be lower than the real numbers — since local police might not always report their results back up the chain, or might choose to charge someone under a local bylaw or provincial legislation instead of the federal act.

“That said, how effective the measures are cannot be judged by how many tickets are issued. Evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach is the fact that travel-introduced cases have dropped to a small number, suggesting a high level of compliance of travellers,” he said.

“As we look to the future and we think of increasing travel volumes, we will need to be vigilant in our approach.”

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) refused to provide stats on how many travellers crossing into Canada have been subjected to the Quarantine Act.

According to a tally of the weekly statistics the CBSA puts out, more than 2.4 million people have crossed the border into Canada since the end of March. Most of them entered the country through a land crossing. It’s not clear how many crossed for essential work, which would make them exempt under the Act.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

“As you can imagine, it is very time-consuming and uses up a lot of resources to compile stats, so what we’ve committed to is providing the weekly national traveller stats,” said CBSA spokesperson Ashley Lemire in an email to CBC. 

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief medical officer of health, said he believes the monitoring system is working so far.

“From the data and evidence today, it’s working well,” he said Tuesday during a routine health briefing in Ottawa.

“I’m not aware personally that there’s been a big increase in cases related to travel, people who have crossed the border and then developed COVID-19 because of an infection they’ve brought across the border.”

Sources say border deal extended 

Senior government officials, speaking on background, have said the arrangement limiting access at the Canada- U.S border to essential travel only will be rolled over for another 30 days.

The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21. 

Canadian government officials say they expect the border to stay closed for the foreseeable future, despite calls from U.S. members of Congress to consider a phased plan for reopening.

Outside of its deal with the U.S. administration, Canada closed off most international travel back in March with some exceptions, including one for temporary foreign workers.

The federal government tweaked the quarantine measures in April to state that Canadians returning home from abroad who don’t have credible plans to self-isolate will be forced to stay at a quarantine facility, such as a hotel.

The public health agency said that as of Monday, 1,690 travellers have been housed at one of their sites. The costs have not been fully invoiced yet, said Legault-Thivierge, adding the agency is tracking all incurred costs.

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Statistics Canada to start collecting race-based crime data –



Statistics Canada says it plans to start collecting race-based crime data — a step that comes amid mounting criticism of how law enforcement agencies across Canada police marginalized communities. 

The national statistics agency and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police will begin working with partners and stakeholders this year to figure out how to collect sound data when reporting on victims and accused, according to a news release sent Wednesday morning.

The CACP is a non-profit that represents about 1,300 police chiefs from federal, First Nations, provincial, regional, transportation and military police services across the country.

“The need for quality data about the experience of Indigenous peoples and ethno-cultural communities with Canada’s criminal justice system is paramount to understanding the extent to which people from these communities are represented in Canada’s criminal justice system, beginning with their interactions with the police,” said Stu Betts, deputy chief of the London Police Service and co-chair of the CACP’s statistics committee.

The move is something advocates have called for to get a better sense of how crime impacts different communities, though some have cautioned that data collection alone won’t solve the problem of racial profiling.

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and groups such as Canadian Race Relations Foundation have both pushed for this kind of data collection, the release says.

The announcement comes as police forces across Canada face a reckoning about how they police marginalized communities following a number of high-profile deaths.

Anil Arora, the chief statistician of Canada, said this kind of data collection could impact decisions going forward.

“Statistics Canada is committed to working with the CACP to ensure Canada’s official police-reported crime statistics reflect indigenous and ethno-cultural groups,” he said in a statement. 

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki committed to working with the federal privacy commissioner on the collection of race-based policing data during a committee meeting on systemic racism in policing last month.

“Providing a clearer picture of police interactions with racialized communities is vital to maintaining the trust and respect of Canadians,” she tweeted Wednesday morning, reacting to the Statistics Canada announcement.

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