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

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

A housing location for workers on the new Mills Memorial Hospital construction project has been approved by city council. (File photo)
Camp spot proposed for hospital construction workers

As many as 350 outside workers may be needed

Terrace city council are reaching out to the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson regarding councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller’s resignation on Feb. 22, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
City of Terrace seeking ombudsperson investigation into allegations of systemic racism

Councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller resigned Feb. 22, citing racism

A large provincial grant will make cycling and walking safer in Terrace. (File photo)
Large grant to make walking, cycling safer in Terrace

Pathway will connect old Skeena Bridge to the downtown

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read