Canadians divided on timing of U.S. border reopening, new survey finds
VANCOUVER -- A new survey by the Angus Reid Institute found Canadians nearly evenly split on when in 2021 the U.S. border, closed since March 2020, should reopen for non-essential travel.
According to the survey, 23 per cent of those polled say the border should reopen immediately, while 29 per cent said Canadians and Americans should wait to cross the 49th parallel until sometime this summer.
27 per cent of those surveyed responded it would be better to wait until the fall, while 21 per cent said the border should remain closed to non-essential travel until at least 2022.
"These numbers tell me that we’re still in a fairly locked down mindset, even as we start to have conversations about the transition out of it,” said Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute.
The survey also asked Canadians whether inbound travellers should be required to quarantine for 14 days at home and whether proof of vaccination should make a difference.
Eighty per cent of those who responded said a two-week home quarantine should be necessary for those who did not have proof of full vaccination.
With vaccination proof, the number supporting quarantine dropped to 48 per cent.
More than half of those surveyed, 52 per cent, also supported a three-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel for arriving travellers who did not have vaccinations.
That number drops to 31 per cent with proof of full vaccination.
Kurl said she found the numbers notable, which may have to do with how Canadians currently perceive safety in their communities.
“Sometimes people feel better about measures that...seem to be a little bit more performative than they are effective,” Kurl said in reference to the federally mandated hotel quarantine for arriving air travellers.
The survey also explored whether proof of vaccine should be mandatory, both for international travel and domestically, including in workplaces or when attending large public gatherings like concerts.
Kurl pointed out one of the most surprising findings was that requiring vaccine certificates, or so-called vaccine passports, would sway few of those already unlikely or unwilling to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Just eight per cent of that group said they would be more likely to get vaccinated if vaccine records were required under certain circumstances, while 18 per cent said they were not sure, and 72 per cent they would not.
The online survey polled 1,601 Canadians between May 14-17, 2021, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.