Canadian “snowbirds” have been leaving the nest for Florida and other sun-belt destinations after being cooped up the past year and more because of the pandemic.
The federal government has lifted its advisory against non-essential travel abroad, saying now that international travelers must be fully vaccinated, with the land border now fully open.
It’s still urging caution, suggesting that people older than 50 might want to avoid travel, including to the United States and areas with higher outbreaks of the virus.
“The pandemic is very much alive,” Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said. “Look at the risks involved in that travel journey and where you're heading to.”
Updated rules for border crossings took effect Nov. 30, and people who are fully vaccinated “who depart and re-enter the country within 72 hours by land and air are exempt from providing a pre-entry COVID-19 test result.
Those arriving by air, except from the U.S., must take a test in a bid to halt the spread of the omicron variant.
For the latest rules, go to cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services/covid/menu-eng.html.
Canada's top banks enjoying big profits
Canada’s largest six banks are cashing in on current market conditions.
BMO Financial Group will increase dividends and share buybacks from its “expense and efficiency commitments,” said chief executive Darryl White.
The bank reported a fourth-quarter profit of nearly $2.2 billion, up from almost $1.6 billion in the same quarter last year.
TD Bank Group has a $3.8 billion fourth-quarter profit and raised its quarterly dividend.
CIBC said it is focusing on growth, including buying the Costco credit card portfolio and a fourth-quarter profit of $1.4 billion.
The Royal Bank of Canada reported $3.9 billion fourth quarter profit while Scotiabank had a quarterly net income of $2.6 billion.
National Bank of Canada reported a $776 million quarterly profit and raised its dividend by 23%.
News in brief
• The fledgling Green Party of Canada, which had a poor showing in the federal election, is considering closing its Ottawa office to cut costs and avoid insolvency. The cash-strapped environmental party has had division within its ranks, including the resignation of leader Annamie Paul and a drop in financial support with just two elected members of the government.
Facts and figures
• Canada’s dollar is steady at 78 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.28 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.
• The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.25% while the prime lending rate is 2.45%.
• Canadian stock markets are lower, with the Toronto index losing 230 points to 20,531 Friday while the TSX Venture index was off 19 points at891.
• The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.39 a liter (Canadian) or $5.30 for a U.S. gallon.
• Lotto Max: (Nov. 30) 4, 7, 8, 22, 24, 30 and 49; bonus 42. (Nov. 26) 9, 26, 30, 35, 37, 42 and 50; bonus 47.
• Lotto 6/49: (Dec. 1) 14, 17, 27, 34, 36 and 42; bonus 8. (Nov. 27) 6, 7, 14, 23, 35 and 41; bonus 11.
• Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization “strongly” recommends people 50 and older and “vulnerable individuals” should get a COVID-19 booster shot. The national immunization committee also said that people aged 18 to 49 should also be offered a third vaccine shot six months after their second dose. This week across Canada shots started to be given to children aged four to 11. This comes with increased outbreaks. Ontario and Quebec each recorded more than 1,000 positive cases on Friday.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Canada Report: Government lifts advisory against non-essential travel