air canada influencers

Air Canada blasted for hiring influencers to promote tropical vacations amid pandemic

Air Canada appears to be bucking back against the federal government's official pandemic guidelines (which ask everyone to refrain from travel) as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on — this time, by paying people to promote tropical vacations on social media.

A damning report in the Globe and Mail published Wednesday shows that Canada's largest airline has "hired social-media influencers to encourage Canadians to fly on non-essential vacation travel" despite the repeated urging of public health officials for citizens to stay home.

Indeed, a handful of Instagram users have been promoting content sponsored by Air Canada Vacations in recent weeks using photos of themselves in far-off lands.

People who've been refraining from travel at the behest of government officials are ticked, but it's important to note that all of these social media campaigns took place before the holiday break — before politicians started being outed en masse for their personal vacations, and before most people fully understood that travel (despite being technically legal) is a bad idea right now.

All levels of government have been advising for months against non-essential travel, but it's easy to see how the message got misconstrued with dozens of planes touching down at Pearson from international destinations each week.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said himself this week that any Canadians who take non-essential trips against federal guidance are doing so at their own risk, and that they are inelligeble for pandemic-related sick leave benefits.

Furthermore, all people arriving in Canada are required by law to quarantine for 14 days upon entering the country.

There's no concrete evidence to suggest that Air Canada's influencers haven't done this, but people are angry over The Globe's report nonetheless.

Not only are "influencers" as a (misunderstood at times) group reviled among many in the country, travel to tropical destinations has become a heinous act to members of the public in light of so many officials doing so lately while encouraging their constituents to stay home.

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips resigned over his St. Barts vacation scandal last week, as did COVID-19 advisory table member and hospital CEO Dr. Tom Stewart late Tuesday night.

As of January 7, anyone flying to Canada must show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding, per federal regulations — something that Canada's travel industry has formally decried as "callous" and "impractical."

Public health officials, on the other hand, all seem to agree that letting potential cases of COVID-19 into Canada from anywhere is a dumb move as case numbers rise and hospitals near ICU capacity in some provinces.

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