Travel website Canada Foreigners Association has spoken out about the impact of Omicron’s new policies, reports CBC.
“It was a bit of an abrupt end for a process that was going to help a lot of people,” said Sheila Sutherland-Sylvester, director of operations for the organization. “A lot of the clients that were already there at the border were told they could not go any further.”
Most of the people who were affected by the halt were Canadians, reports Omicron.
READ MORE: What are the long-overdue security improvements at the US border?
“My question was simply if the process was canceled because of [Rebecca] McKenna’s change in office or for any other reason,” she said, “but I was told it’s solely a result of her team.”
Read the full Canada Foreigners Association statement here.
The decision to push some versions of Omicron to the side of the line started after federal Environment Minister Judith Guichon said in late March that her Liberal government would scrap the regulations, following the defeat of the Conservative government, which enacted the policy.
Read more: From rights to extra bureaucracy: Here’s what to expect after US-Canada border-crossing changes
Sarah Lord, president of the Canadian Association of Immigration Counsellors, called the decision to temporarily suspend the regulations an “extreme” measure to push Omicron to the back of the line.
“Basically, what they’re doing is saying that, because there’s no minister of public safety and border security to deal with Omicron, all that Omicron can do at the border is wait a few more weeks, and that’s what we’re doing,” she told CBC.
READ MORE: Incoming New Canadian passport set to void many American travel documents
Canada’s Conservative party has criticized both the Liberals and the Conservatives for not taking more action to keep border-crossing procedures accessible to everyone.
“These Liberal omnibus bills still represent radical, anti-constitutional barriers to economic competitiveness, and are now directly impacting a core function of government,” Conservative party spokesperson Lindsay Lefebvre said in a statement.
“The Liberals are willing to jeopardize Canadian jobs, investor confidence and national security by weaponizing various regulatory powers in order to punish citizens who dare to challenge their regulatory regime.”
The Canadian Alliance of Businesses for Reform wrote in a news release, “This blatant targeting of an entire industry for ideological reasons is outrageous. In light of today’s announcement, it’s no surprise that businesses across the country are frustrated with Ottawa’s habit of acting unilaterally on such issues.”