Saskatchewan has become the first province to announce it will be dropping all COVID-19 restrictions, including proof of vaccination requirements.
Premier Scott Moe made the announcement during a press conference Monday evening, stating restrictions would end on Feb. 28 and recognizing Canadians’ desire “for a return to normal.”
“Our caucus MLAs are hearing this from the people that they are talking to across the province and the people that they ultimately represent, and people are asking their government for a return to normal – a removal of public health restrictions – and we most certainly are looking at how we can do that in the weeks ahead here in Saskatchewan,” said Moe.
The announcement comes after a significant shift in public opinion among Canadians against pandemic restrictions.
A new poll by the Angus Reid Institute found that 54% of Canadians agreed or strongly agreed that restrictions should be ended and for people who are at risk to self-isolate. All regions except for Atlantic Canada reported majority support.
Both Alberta and Ontario have also hinted at some signs of further opening up.
Most recently, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stated that he hopes to see an end to the proof of vaccination program by March.
“I did say when we brought in the proof of vaccination program back in early September that I did not foresee it going past the first quarter of 2022. That would be the end of March,” Kenney said last week.
Ontario’s top doctor Kieran Moore also said last week that it was time for people to “learn to live with COVID-19,” anticipating that the threat of the virus will die down in the near future.
“I think we have to start to understand we have to learn to live with this virus,” Moore said.
As for Quebec, Premier Francois Legault has now walked back his plan to tax the province’s unvaccinated after facing wide public pushback.
“I understand that this divides Quebecers, and right now we have to build bridges,” said Legault on Tuesday “My role is to try to bring Quebecers together to stay united as a people.”