This 3rd wave has been fuelled almost entirely by variants that passed too easily through our borders.
Right now, we have people easily exploiting well-known loopholes that have been left in place.
This is unacceptable. We need action now to protect Ontarians. pic.twitter.com/MO9a7BJqKd
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) May 18, 2021
The federal government keeps pushing back against Ontario Premier Doug Ford's continued claim that the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was "fuelled almost entirely" by weak federal border measures.
"This [third] wave has been fuelled almost entirely by variants that passed too easily through our borders. Right now, we have people easily exploiting well-known loopholes that have been left in place," a tweet from the premier on Tuesday reads.
He went on to call on the federal government to require pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all domestic travellers, in addition to the pre-departure and arrival testing requirements already in place for international travellers.
Every day, we see domestic flights landing in Ontario with COVID-positive travellers. This is not just an Ontario problem—this is an issue all provinces are struggling with.
It’s time for the federal government to require pre-departure PCR tests for all domestic flights. pic.twitter.com/D9epCMcO9Y
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) May 18, 2021
Premier Doug Ford's COVID-19 transmission theory shut down
"The third wave of COVID-19 is a direct result of community transmission," a statement from Dominic LeBlanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs reads.
"Ontario Public Health data demonstrates that less than one per cent of transmission is a result of international travel. Sound public health measures such as asymptomatic testing at essential work places, provincially mandated sick days, and increased vaccination focus in hot spots are all necessary to ending this wave."
At a press conference last week, Ford said he has sent four letters to the federal government called for stricter rules for individuals coming into Ontario, including hotel quarantine for travellers through land borders.
"There’s two things Justin Trudeau's responsible for, two things only throughout this whole pandemic," Ford said on May 13. "Make sure we have enough vaccines, and we saw what happened there, now we’re getting a few more vaccines, which is good… And to make sure we secure the borders, and it’s just not happening."
"My riding is right over the airport and all I hear is those planes just constantly coming in. Every time I look up I think, how many more variants are coming in?"
In his statement LeBlanc identified that 57.7 per cent of foreign nationals coming into Canada essential workers, such as health care and supply chain workers, 22 per cent are students, 14.6 per cent are coming for family reunification purposes and 5.9 per cent for immigration.
"If Ontario would like to see further restrictions, the provincial government needs to specify which of these groups they would wish to restrict further and make a request formally," LeBlanc states.
"We always welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can work together. We have provided Ontario with extra polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capabilities through the Safe Restart Agreement. Ontario is also within their jurisdiction to institute domestic travel quarantine."
Federal government data states that there has been a 96 per cent reduction in air traffic and a 90 per cent reduction in non-commercial land traffic into Canada, compared to pre-COVID-19 volumes. It has also been reported that under two per cent of international travellers are found to be positive with COVID-19.
In response to Ford's tweets on Tuesday, many Twitter users weren't so convinced that travel has fuelled the third wave of the pandemic, or that the premier needs federal action.
Deflecting again Less than 1%. Science is very clear that the borders aren't the issue. Your rhetoric is tiring and your intentional avoidance of the media and all Ontarians is infuriating. U refuse to listen to the countless doctors and specialists that have advised #letusplay
— Russie (@russie5) May 18, 2021
Dude, you can require the tests to enter Ontario. This is not something Trudeau needs to do.
— sarcastic canadian ☘️ (@SarcasticCan) May 18, 2021
Oh, so it’s still a border issue, just different borders now? Come on Doug. It’s your (our) province. If you want PCR tests, you can do that yourself. Or, you could work on community spread. You know, where 96% of cases are coming from?
— Steve (@RMVB4Flight) May 18, 2021
My brother and his family are currently in the mandatory two-week quarantine and it's no joke. If you think that the trickle of international visitors is causing this outbreak rather than consistent @fordnation mismanagement of the situation, you're not paying attention #onpoli
— ActuallyBob (@ActuallyBob) May 18, 2021