Canada’s ban on Indian flights was extended earlier this week, to at least August 21.
Canada continues to relax its coronavirus travel restrictions and the ban was extended.
Both Indians and Canadians find it extremely disruptive to deny flights from India. India is Canada’s greatest allies, and the country with the highest number of international students and new immigrants is by far. About 20% of Canada’s permanent residents are from India. 30% of Canada’s international students are Indian. Nearly 1.4 million Canadians identified themselves as having Indian heritage in the 2016 Census.
It is obvious that the current ban on flying poses a significant challenge to Indians, Indian-Canadians and their families as well as the Canadian economy.
Canada’s April 22 travel ban on India was first implemented by the Canadian government due to concerns over COVID-19 variants, which officials claimed had higher transmissibility rates.
Canada’s ban on smoking was primarily for health reasons. However, other factors will likely influence the decision to lift the ban.
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Factors that impact health
The Canadian government considers factors like domestic case counts, vaccination rates, and other countries’ vaccination rates when determining COVID-19 travel policies. It also examines variants and their transmissibility as well as whether vaccines exist that protect against them.
CIC News received a written statement from the Canadian government on July 22 explaining that while progress has been made, the situation is still very grave in India. The extension of the travel ban was based on scientific evidence. It has been implemented to protect Canadians against the introduction of the Delta variant, which is already prevalent in India.
Although health is the most important consideration, it is possible to argue that Canada’s government is also affected by economic restrictions. Canada announced that it will start to accept fully-vaccinated visitors from the United States starting August 9. This is despite rising COVID cases and stagnating vaccination rates in the United States.
The U.S. has increased its ban on Canadian tourists crossing the border. It is clear that Canada did not accept American tourists because of political pressure, but because of a combination economic and health considerations.
The rising number of cases in the U.S. has caused concern, and some Canadian media commentators have questioned the decision to lift restrictions for American tourists. The decision is, however, being celebrated by those who have an economic interest in the outcome, namely the Canadian tourist industry. Before the pandemic, Canada hosted 15 million American tourists annually and tourism supported approximately 10% of Canadian jobs. The pandemic has decimated Canada’s tourism industry. Canada felt pressured to open its borders to U.S. visitors, even though there were compelling reasons not to.
We should have reason to believe that Canada will consider India flights if there are non-health factors.
Designated Learning Institutions will feel the pressure.
Canada doesn’t have strong special interest groups lobbying for immigrants. Confirmation of Permanent Residence holders (COPR) have had to face significant difficulties throughout the pandemic. The Canadian business community supports temporary foreign workers while Canadian designated learning institutes (DLIs), advocate for international students.
Canada’s universities and colleges are dependent on international students for major revenue. The DLIs played an important role in obtaining Canada’s travel restrictions for international students lifted last October. DLIs, who are the largest source of international students from India, will continue to speak out to get concessions from Canada by August 21. This is before the start of the academic school year when most of Canada’s new permit holders will arrive.
Political pressure may also exist
As he seeks a majority government, it seems likely that Justin Trudeau, the prime minister, will call a new federal vote in the coming months.
Due to the influence of Indian-Canadians who live in some of the most vote-rich areas of Canada, the stakes for India’s flight ban could be higher than usual heading into the election. Trudeau’s electoral ambitions will depend on their votes. Trudeau may decide to lift restrictions on India flights to encourage them to vote.