Canadians still hesitant to open U.S. border, but Prairies more eager, poll suggests

A majority of Canadians want wait until at least 75 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated before welcoming Americans for non-essential travel, with divisions based on location and travel frequency.

Alberta and Saskatchewan residents lead push to open now

A commercial truck heads for the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ont., to Detroit. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Most Canadians want to wait until at least 75 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated before welcoming Americans for non-essential travel, with notable differences between regions, a new poll suggests. 

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair suggested in June that Ottawa wants three-quarters of Canadians fully vaccinated before travel restrictions could be lifted. 

An online survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute found that 69 per cent of Canadians agree with Ottawa and want to wait until allowing U.S. visitors. 

But not everyone agrees. 

Some are itching for the day the border will open. 

Twenty-two per cent say the government is taking too much time. This group is led by frequent travellers and residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

In Alberta, 42 per cent of residents say that they want the border to open now. Saskatchewan residents follow closely behind, with 30 per cent wanting the border to open immediately. 

Others are more hesitant. 

Across Canada, 38 per cent say they would wait until more than three-quarters of the population is fully vaccinated before opening the border, with those in Ontario (42%) and B.C. (42%) heading this group. 

Half say Trudeau has handled pandemic well

Besides the reopening of the border, the poll also examined Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's handling of the pandemic — with divisions evident based on political affiliations, location and age. 

Half of Canadians (50%) say Trudeau has done a good job managing the pandemic, the highest level of support since January. 

Albertans and Saskatchewan residents are more inclined to say Trudeau is doing a bad job with the pandemic. 

Sixty-eight per cent of Albertans rate the PM's performance as poor, while 64 per cent of Saskatchewan residents say the same. 

Atlantic Canada (62%) and Quebec (60%) have the highest support for Trudeau's management of the pandemic. 

Worst of COVID-19 is over, majority say

And as Canadians look to travel, many say the worst of COVID-19 is over. 

Fewer than half of Canadians (47%) say they are worried about getting sick themselves, the lowest level since June 2020. 

Most Canadians (88%) say the worst of the pandemic is over, at least in their province. 

But some Canadians worry about the economic challenges ahead. 

While just 12 per cent say health impacts may still worsen, 28 per cent say the worst damage to the economy is still to come. 

Economic concerns are particularly acute in Alberta (35%) and Manitoba (37%). 

The survey was conducted between July 9 and 13, using a randomized sample of 2,040 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. 

Online surveys do not have a margin of error that can be accurately calculated. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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