‘Slightly tone-deaf’: Passport Canada tweet draws criticism amid coronavirus pandemic

Canadians are raising their eyebrows after a tweet from Passport Canada urged people to apply for the travel document for “winter vacation” despite the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

A tweet posted on Passport Canada’s verified account on Friday afternoon urged people to apply for a passport.

“Are you planning a winter vacation but don’t have a valid passport?” the tweet reads. “Don’t wait, apply now!”

The tweet comes despite guidance from Travel Canada, which has for months been advising Canadians to “avoid all non-essential travel” outside of the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“As foreign governments implement strict travel restrictions and as fewer international transportation options are available, you may have difficulty returning to Canada or may have to remain abroad for an indeterminate period,” the agency’s website reads.

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Travel Canada has also advised Canadians to “avoid all cruise ship travel” outside of the country “until further notice.”

In March, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, Canada closed its land border with the U.S. and many airports to international flights.

Passport Canada’s tweet comes as a number of countries, including Canada, grapple with a second wave of the virus.

On Saturday, the country saw 4,617 new infections, bringing the country’s total case count to 291,648.

By 12:30 p.m. ET, 54,127,451 cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China, late last year, it has claimed 1,314,584 lives globally.

Twitter users were quick to question Passport Canada’s tweet.

One user called it “slightly tone-deaf.”

“No one should be going for vacation,” another Twitter user wrote.

“Not unless I need a passport to go from my kitchen to the living room,” another said.

The tweet was sent via Hootsuite, a social media tool which allows users to schedule posts for the future.

It was not immediately clear if this was a previously scheduled post.

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the agency was “looking into” the situation to determine which government agency manages the Twitter account.

Global News also reached out to Refugee and Citizenship Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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