Mark Gerretsen
Mark Gerretsen
Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands
May 18th, 2021 - Travel + Borders

Dear Community,

As we gain ground on our vaccination program, with over 50% of local residents having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, more and more individuals and families are looking forward to resuming regular activities.

My team and I receive a lot of questions and feedback with respect to travel, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share some information, answer questions, and address some concerns that we are hearing.

Travel, Testing, Quarantine and Borders

We all know that now is not (yet) the time for recreational travel. Canada’s official global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel has not changed since the onset of this pandemic. In fact, with the introduction of COVID-19 variants, it has been necessary to take additional measures to protect Canadians. Like other countries, we currently have a mandatory hotel quarantine in place for air travelers arriving into Canada, and strict testing and quarantine measures for all travelers who arrive at our land borders. You can read more about the requirements for travel to Canada here.

Strength and Efficacy of Our Border Restrictions

As Ontarians are working hard to flatten the curve of the third wave of COVID-19, there has been some criticism and calls for further restrictions at our borders. I have addressed these concerns in a video that I encourage you to watch, below:

Some important takeaways from this video include:

Travel Plans

We are hearing from more and more individuals who need to renew their passports, or have questions about when the borders will re-open and recreational travel be deemed safe again.

Passport Applications

Under normal circumstances, as many of you may be aware, my Constituency Office in Kingston accepts passport applications and facilitates processing through a special MP service at Passport Canada.

Due to the pandemic, Passport Canada has restricted this service, as well as in-person submissions through Service Canada or Passport Canada offices across the nation. The only way to submit a passport application, at present, is to mail your application to Passport Canada in Gatineau. This process may take 4-6 weeks for the new passport to be issued and mailed to you. For urgent situations, you can submit an online request or call Passport Canada at 1-800-567-6868. For further information on passports, please visit Passport Canada’s webpage here. My staff are well-versed in assisting constituents with passport applications, so please do not hesitate to call or email us with your specific questions. You can do so by phoning: 613-542-3243, or by emailing: [email protected].

Border Restrictions

The Canada-US border is closed to all non-essential travel until May 21st (an extension will likely be announced). It will be reopened when public health authorities deem it safe to do so.

Vaccine Passports

Many constituents have inquired about COVID-19 vaccine passports. The Honourable Patty Hadju, Minister of Health, has confirmed to media that the federal government is exploring a system to allow Canadians to travel internationally again, and will be working with international partners to ensure Canadians have the documentation required.

At present, the federal government uses the ArriveCAN app, which enables travelers to register the results of COVID-19 tests before and after they arrive in Canada, provide details to border agents about their quarantine plans, and provide contact information for themselves and the people travelling with them. More information will be shared as these plans are developed and implemented.

Travel Cancelations and Refunds

Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, many individuals and families in our community have had to postpone travel, or have had their travel plans cancelled. In recognition of this, the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) issued a statement on air travel disruptions acknowledging that passengers should not “simply be out-of-pocket for the cost of cancelled flights,” and suggesting airlines offer long-term vouchers or credits to passengers. According to the CTA, passengers with flights cancelled due to COVID-19 and who do not wish to accept a voucher may ask for a refund. If the airline refuses that request, the passenger can file a complaint with the CTA. If you wish to pursue resolution through the Canadian Transportation Agency, you can do so here.

Feeling Hopeful

We have a come a long way in a year. We now have a suite of safe and approved vaccines for use in Canada and are on track to fully vaccinate all Canadians who wish to receive a vaccine by the Fall. I recognize that our community continues to make great sacrifices to minimize the harmful effects of COVID-19, and I know it’s not easy. Thank you for your perseverance.

In my last community update, I mentioned that my office is sending out posters for Pride Month in June. Orders have been coming in, steadily, for Pride posters. If you would like to show your support for the LGTBQ2+ community and celebrate with us, please add your name to our order form below: 

ADD YOUR NAME HERE

Kudos to all our community organizations, levels of government, essential workers and community members for their continued diligence during this pandemic. We are getting through this together!

Take care,

Mark Gerretsen, MP

Kingston and the Islands

Main office - Kingston
841 Princess Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 1G7

Telephone:
613-542-3243

Fax:
613-542-5461
Show Map
Office Hours
Mon: 8:30 - 4:30 (closed every day between 1pm-2pm)
Tue: 8:30 - 4:30
Wed: 8:30 - 4:30
Thu: 8:30 - 4:30
Fri: 8:30 - 4:30
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Hill Office
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Telephone:
613-996-1955

Fax:
613-996-1958
Show Map