Border city mayors are calling on the federal government to end the need for any COVID testing at land border crossings.
Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, said the mayor's group doesn't believe the testing is necessary now.
"It's very frustrating, especially for a border city. A lot of people have relationships stateside. They have families and friends, and you put them through this torturous process. At this point, it doesn't mean anything."
On February 28, cross-border travellers who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a PCR test to enter Canada. However, negative rapid antigen testing is still required by travellers.
"Tomorrow night, the Leafs are playing in Detroit, and a lot of people from Sarnia would generally go, but because of the testing requirement and the uncertainty of getting the results on time, it's a challenge for many people."
Bradley noted the mayors' group has been "quite reasonable" throughout the pandemic. They supported the border closing when the government decided to tighten travel a few months ago.
"We as a group have been talking to experts saying, and it is redundant." But, he adds, "take away the testing requirement and the expense and let people like yourself travel again.""
Bradley claims the government is very "cautious" when announcing changes around living with the pandemic. However, he states that removing the testing requirement will allow travellers to calculate the risk on their own.
Bradley noted the testing requirement impacts the day-to-day relationships. For example, Canadian cities operated by tourism are expecting a "really slow" recovery.
"Looking at Niagara Falls, their entire city runs on the tourism sector and in Sarnia, they are now getting up on their feet. The city announced a music festival will be coming."
He reiterates, "it doesn't make sense to keep this testing in place."
The mayors' group is hoping for a response from the federal government on the matter very soon.