Canada 'likely' to drop vaccine mandates, permitting unvaccinated athletes to play
Senior government source says mandatory requirements could end on Sept. 30
Unvaccinated professional athletes like MLB players could be allowed to play in Toronto in the playoffs should the Blue Jays make the postseason.
The federal government is leaning toward dropping the vaccine requirement for people entering Canada — ending random COVID-19 testing at airports — and making the use of the ArriveCan app optional by the end of this month, a senior government source told CBC News.
While multiple sources said Ottawa is "likely" to drop these mandatory requirements by Sept. 30, they added that the proposal has not been given a final sign-off by the prime minister.
Sept. 30 is the date the current COVID-19 Emergency Order-in-Council relating to border measures ends. Ottawa can renew that emergency order, amend it, or let it lapse on that date.
Officials spoke to CBC on condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The development was first reported by The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.
"We have been left behind in the recovery effort as both countries have largely returned to normal daily life," the letter said.
The letter was signed by the mayors of 15 border communities in Canada — including Drew Dilkens of Windsor, Ont. — plus seven mayors in the U.S. and 16 MPs.
All but one of the MPs — Brian Masse, NDP MP for Windsor West — are members of the Conservative Party.
Canada currently requires that travellers use ArriveCAN to declare their vaccination status and travel plans.
Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, as well as a professor in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, said removing the vaccine requirement should have been done a long time ago.
"Zero benefit to ensure people vaccinated. It doesn't keep cases nor variants out," he said.
With files from The Associated Press