Confusion abounds as Ottawa introduces new pandemic travel measures with few details | CBC News

Confusion abounds as Ottawa introduces new pandemic travel measures with few details | CBC News

Confusion abounds as Ottawa introduces new pandemic travel measures with few details | CBC News
Dec 02, 2021 1 min, 41 secs

A hastily assembled plan to test all non-American international travellers to Canada for COVID-19 has prompted confusion among passengers and airport operators alike — because the federal government has released few details about how the new rules will be implemented.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Wednesday the new arrival testing program will take effect immediately.

Under that outgoing program, fully vaccinated travellers were exempt from arrival testing but some were randomly selected for take-home tests.

That randomized program is being replaced with mandatory arrival testing for all passengers, regardless of vaccination status.

Federal health officials have not said who will administer the arrival tests or whether the tests will be administered on-site or through take-home kits.

"Once they enter through a Canadian airport, they need to be tested on arrival, either directly at the airport or, if that is not possible, they take a home test and do that home test at home.

CBC News has asked Health Canada to clarify when the arrival testing program will start and what form it will take when it's operational.

Asked Thursday if airports are ready to hand out tests or arrange for on-site testing, the president of the Canadian Airports Council, the organization that represents many of the country's airports, said he's still not sure how the program will work.

Gooch said it's simply not feasible to test all incoming passengers in the arrival halls of the country's largest airports.

Gooch said Canada's airports are questioning just how safe it is to cram thousands of passengers into a confined area of an airport not purpose-built for health procedures.

He said their preference is for travellers to take these tests "in the safety and comfort of their own home or other destination.".

Tori Gass, a spokesperson for Toronto's Pearson International Airport, said in an email that "a combination of onsite and off-airport testing must be considered to accommodate the volume of tests contemplated.".

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