- The federal government has announced that all airports will cease required random COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travellers beginning June 11.
- The federal government had already exempted international travellers with such a connecting flight from random testing.
Beginning June 11, the federal government has declared that mandatory random COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travelers will be suspended at all airports.
Randomized testing at Canadian airports will be “temporarily discontinued” between June 11 and June 30. However, unvaccinated travelers will remain to be tested on-site. All testing, such as for unvaccinated travelers, would be done off-site beginning July 1.
“The Canadian government realizes the negative impact that long lines at several Canadian airports are making on travelers. As we approach the summer peak season, we continue to engage with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, as well as other partners to develop measures to reduce delays. “On Friday, Transport Canada issued a statement.
This comes as the tourism and aviation industries continue to lobby the federal government to relax COVID-19 regulations in the face of large queues and delays at airports, especially Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which manages Pearson Airport, had urged the federal government to temporarily halt on-site testing at airports since it expected international passenger volumes to increase by 50% as the summer travel season approaches.
“This is about more than just Toronto Pearson; it’s about global conceptions of our nation and also the risk that Canada will end up losing billions of dollars in tourism and business activities if tourists decide that arriving in Canada this summer isn’t worth the hassle,” GTAA CEO Deborah Flint said during a statement about the airport’s delays on Thursday.
International travelers with such a connecting flight had already been excused from random testing by the federal government. Since April, Transport Canada claims to have hired 865 CATSA screening personnel.
Other measures, including COVID-19 vaccine regulations and the ArriveCAN app’s mandatory use, are still in effect. The Public Health Agency of Canada is deploying additional workers to airports to check ArriveCAN submissions and help travelers use the app, according to the federal government.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, described the random testing of travelers as an “early warning system” aimed at detecting incoming variations during a virtual media briefing on Friday morning.
“We use a randomized sample to select people from various parts of the world and can find mutations of concern,” Tam explained.
Source: CTV news
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