Editor’s note: This report has been updated with new information sent to LifeSiteNews from Transport Canada.
TORONTO, Ontario, January 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Starting today, all air travelers going to Canada must present a negative PCR or LAMP COVID-19 test to their airline before being allowed to board their flight.
On December 31, Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the new entry requirements for air travelers entering Canada, which take effect January 7.
“Our government remains committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians. These new measures will provide another layer of protection for Canadians as we continue to assess public health risks and work to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada,” said Garneau of the new measures.
Transport Canada originally said that should one not be able to obtain a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test in the country he is leaving from, an airline is allowed to let a person board, but upon arrival into Canada, he must report to a government-approved COVID-19 quarantine camp and stay there for 14 days.
“Persons who are travelling from a country where PCR testing is unavailable will be required to report to a designated Public Health Agency of Canada quarantine facility for the duration of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Delays in obtaining test results does not apply,” said Transport Canada.
Transport Canada now says that should one not be able to obtain a PCR or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) COVID-19 test in the country they are leaving from within 72 hours of departure, this will mean an “automatic denial of boarding by the airline operating the flight to Canada.”
“All travellers coming to Canada must present proof of a negative laboratory test result for COVID-19 to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using one of two types of COVID-19 tests — either a molecular polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) — and must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada,” reads the clarified guidelines.
“Failure to do so will mean an automatic denial of boarding by the airline operating the flight to Canada.”
According to the government press release from Transport Canada, the new requirements apply to passengers who are five years of age and over, who must produce a negative PCR or LAMP test “within 72 hours of departure, unless the testing is unavailable in that country.”
Transport Canada says violating “any instructions provided” when entering Canada is an “offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.”
For those who test negative, they still must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine, and upon arrival must provide to border agents with an “adequate plan for isolation to avoid infecting others,” which must be electronically submitted.
The sudden change of entry requirements into Canada appeared to catch airlines off guard and has been blasted by the world’s top airline trade association, the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The IATA criticized the Canadian stated the new testing requirements are “the worst of both worlds” as passengers still need to quarantine upon arrival.
“It is both callous and impractical to impose this new requirement on travelers at such short notice. Moreover, it is completely unrealistic to mandate that airlines check passengers’ compliance with the new rule, as it cannot be the airline’s role to determine if a passenger tried their utmost to get tested or not,” said the IATA in their press release.
“Canada already has one the world’s most draconian Covid-19 border-control regimes, including travel bans and quarantines. Even though COVID-19 testing is an internationally accepted risk-mitigation strategy, there are no plans to adjust the current 14-day quarantine rule nor eliminate the temperature checks airlines are required to perform on passengers wishing to travel to Canada.”
The IATA went onto say that “no explanation has been provided” why only PCR tests are permitted, especially given they are not “readily available in many countries.”
“While the industry for months has been calling for systematic testing to reopen borders without quarantine measures, these pleas have fallen on deaf ears, especially in Canada,” said the IATA.
The organization added that the “way forward” is through a “well-planned and coordinated introduction of testing inbound travelers, as a replacement for quarantine measures.”
National Airlines Council of Canada CEO and President Mike McNaney said the sudden change in entry requirements was done without prior industry consultation.
“Over the course of the pandemic, the Canadian aviation industry has been calling on the government for months to introduce a coordinated and systematic testing regime, in conjunction with industry, in order to avoid a rushed and disjointed rollout of testing requirements,” said McNaney in a press release.
“Today’s announcement occurred without prior coordination with industry, and with many major operational and communication details still to be determined.”
In the fall of 2020, the Government of Canada (GoC) solicited feedback and information from industry service providers to build “Federal Quarantine/Isolation sites” which could be used for “other requirements” besides coronavirus-imposed quarantines.
According to the government, the current sites were to be “used to address the requirements for international travelers not having a suitable place to isolate.”
This news prompted Randy Hillier, Independent Ontario MPP for Lanark, Frontenac & Kingston, to question why such sites were needed to be built.
Public Health Canada is currently managing sites nationwide that are designated as “quarantine sites (DQS)” for the COVID-19 fourteen-day quarantine, which can “lodge up to 1600 travellers.”
These sites are in Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Winnipeg, Regina, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Fredericton, St. John’s (Newfoundland), and Whitehorse.
Toronto Constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati was asked by LifeSiteNews about the GoC’s RFI for “Federal Quarantine/Isolation sites.”
Galati told LifeSiteNews that “straight out of the gate” he predicted “in one Twitter paragraph” what was to come because of COVID-19.
Galati referred LifeSiteNews to a March 17, 2020 tweet he wrote shortly after the Ontario provincial government enacted COVID-19 emergency orders.
“Covid19 frenzy. A waltz in the global totalitarian tip-toe to new world order. Parliament closures, Court shutdowns, soldiers out. Banking/Corporate bailouts. Facts/science do not add up. Death toll, elderly and immunocompromised victims, marginally no diff than any other flus,” wrote Galati on March 17 on his Twitter page.
In recent days, several high-profile politicians have been caught red-handed after they traveled abroad over the Christmas break.
Finance minister Ontario MPP Rod Phillips recently resigned after it was discovered he traveled out of Canada for a vacation to St. Barts.
Phillips’s resignation is not the only one regarding high-profile government officials in senior roles who were caught jetting off to warmer climates for Christmas vacations.
A growing list of offending politicians and senior staff members has made headlines in recent days.
Although it is technically not illegal to leave Canada to travel, the perception of an elected official doing so while telling people to stay home is seen as a double standard and hypocrisy by many Canadians.
Minister of Transport – Marc Garneau
Parliament Hill Office
House of Commons
Email: [email protected]