Canada banned direct flights from India on April 22, 2021, initially for a month amidst the dangerous and deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. This second wave was a result of the lethal Delta variant of coronavirus, which was highly contagious and responsible for a high amount of fatality across India. However, as the second wave somehow passes in India and by the efficacious Covid-19 vaccine campaign in India, many trade pandits predicted that Canada will lift the direct flight ban from India. For the utter dismay of the international students, Canada further extended the ban for the fifth time till Sept 21. So, the question of the moment is “When will Canada lift the flight ban from India?”
How flight ban affects Indian International Students?
Without any qualms, this extended ban will be a hurdle for the international students, as many colleges and universities across Canada have recently shifted to in-person classes from online classes this fall semester. India has been an exceptional ally to Canada, and India provides around 30% of total international students and 20% of total permanent residents to Canada. In the 2016 census of Canada, more than 1.5 million people accepted their Indian heritage in Canada. This Indian heritage people have their roots in India and many of their immediate members along with the international students from India are in the situation of a dilemma as this whole one-of-a-kind pandemic situation stalled the overall footfall from India.
Vaccine effects on Flight Ban
Many experts are predicting that Canada will ease these flight restrictions for India soon. As recently, Canada opens its border to the international travelers of the world from September 7, who has taken both the doses of the Ministry of health accepted Covid-19 vaccines and especially with its neighboring country U.S.A from August 9. These vaccines which were accepted by the Canadian government are Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen. Out of these, only AstraZeneca is available in India with the name of Covishield. Furthermore, as of August 10, more than 400 million doses of vaccines were given in India, around which 27% of the total Indian population has taken at least one dose of the vaccine and around 9% of the total population of India are fully vaccinated. These were the promising numbers as we consider the Indian population which is more than 1.36 billion. On the other hand, more than 68% of the total Canadians are fully vaccinated.
Pressure from Colleges within Canada
Secondly, the Canada government is facing constant pressure from various fronts to lift this ban at its earliest. There is high pressure on the Canadian government from the Designated Learning Institutes (DLI), as international students are the key source of revenue to all the colleges and universities of Canada. DLI’s successfully put pressure on the Canadian government before and were the reason behind lifting the flight ban last year in late October. These DLI’s are vocal about the current restrictions and asking for some sort of exceptions for the students as India provides a large source of international students without whom the upcoming fall semester is dried out. Lastly, Canada will encounter the new federal election in few months and to win the hearts of Indo-Canadian people (as they contribute heavily to the results of the voting and lives in vote-rich cities), the government has immense pressure to lift the ban soon. Lifting the ban will directly be beneficial to the Indian community and by this, they will earn their votes.
So, when Canada will lift direct flight ban from India?
To conclude, the constant improvement of the covid-19 situation in India and the piled-up pressure on the Canadian government by the Designated learning Institutes (DLI) and politically by the Indo-Canadian people, indicates that Canada will hopefully lift the direct flight ban from India soon. So, if you are planning to visit Canada soon, get yourself fully vaccinated as you can hear the good news of lifting the direct flight ban anytime.
Sources: CTV News CIC News Stricter Travel Restrictions Hindustan Times CIC News Flight Ban Extended