A driver shows identification to an Ottawa police officer as a checkpoint as vehicles enter the province from Quebec Monday April 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

A driver shows identification to an Ottawa police officer as a checkpoint as vehicles enter the province from Quebec Monday April 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Quebec and Ontario impose travel restrictions to slow surging virus variants

Talks are underway on the possibility of limiting interprovincial and international air travel

Ontario and Quebec imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions on Monday amid growing concern over surging case counts and hospitalizations that are placing unprecedented strain on Ontario’s hospital system.

Going forward, travellers from Manitoba and Quebec cannot enter Ontario unless they live or work in the province, are transporting goods, or are travelling for health or compassionate reasons or to exercise an Aboriginal treaty right.

Quebec has enacted similar rules for its western border with Ontario and is requiring anyone returning to their primary residence from that province to isolate for 14 days unless they fall under an exception.

The province’s public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said discussions are underway on the possibility of limiting interprovincial and international air travel in light of the more contagious variants.

“I’m discussing with my federal colleagues and other provinces about better controls of air flights and also over land,” he told reporters after receiving his first vaccine dose north of Montreal.

The measures came as Ontario reported 4,447 new cases of COVID-19 amid worries the province’s intensive care units are struggling to keep up with a growing number of extremely sick patients.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider invoking the federal Emergencies Act in light of the crisis.

“I believe such a declaration, applied to Ontario, could help ensure a more co-ordinated delivery of vaccines to those who need them most, as well as enabling workers to prevent the spread by taking paid sick days and time off to get vaccinated,” Singh wrote to Trudeau in a letter.

The NDP leader noted that in Toronto, the wealthiest neighbourhoods have higher rates of vaccination than neighbourhoods where racialized and working-class people live — areas that have higher levels of COVID-19 positivity.

The prime minister has resisted previous suggestions to invoke the measure, stating that he preferred to let the provinces take the lead on fighting the virus.

The federal government announced Sunday it was working with provinces that have not been as hard hit to dispatch health-care workers to help in the Greater Toronto Area’s struggling ICUs.

Meanwhile, some provinces are expanding access to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Ontario and Alberta announced Sunday they were expanding eligibility to those 40 and up, while Manitoba on Monday said it will do the same.

Quebec’s public health director said the province will announce a decision on lowering the age limit later Monday.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends offering the AstraZeneca shot to those 55 and over because of a slightly elevated risk of an extremely rare blood clot disorder.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, however, suggested on Sunday that new recommendations were coming soon, and reminded reporters that Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18.

Ontario reported Monday morning it had administered another 67,000 vaccine doses, pushing Canada as a whole over the 10-million mark for doses administered.

About 9.1 million people in the country had received at least one dose as of Monday morning, including about 915,000 who have received both required doses.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Steven Brown is running for Penticton city council in the June by-election. (Contributed)
Penticton race director throws hat into city council ring

Steven Brown will run with a focus on small business

Penticton Vees celebrate a goal in their second win to start their season on Saturday night at the SOEC. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees head into final weekend tied for first in league

The Vees have two games to take the top spot

Coronavirus 3D illustration. (CDC photo)
Two Summerland businesses closed due to COVID-19

The businesses are listed on the Interior Health website

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed two blocks of Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Vernon’s ‘support local’ Main Street closure would cost city $24K, staff say

Bylaw costs, loss of parking revenue and equipment logistics behind price tag

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

Officials are surveying the streets of Vernon to get a better sense of the issue of homelessness in the city, as part of the province’s point-in-time homeless count for 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Province conducts homeless count in Vernon

It’s the first time Vernon has been included in the provincial homeless count

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Most Read