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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Splatsin First Nation concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, will struggle to recover without habitat protection and restoration action - report

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

Most Read