The federal government has announced that it will be suspending mandatory random COVID-19 testing at all airports for vaccinated travellers starting June 11.
Between June 11 and June 30, randomized testing at Canadian airports will be “will be temporarily suspended,” although unvaccinated travellers will continue to be tested on-site. As of July 1, all testing, including for unvaccinated travellers, will be performed off-site.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the impact that significant wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travellers. We continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season,” Transport Canada said in a statement on Friday.
This comes after mounting pressure from the travel and aviation industry calling on the federal government to ease COVID-19 restrictions amid long lines and delays at airports, particularly Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Pearson Airport, had been urging the feds to temporarily pause on-site testing at airports as it expects international passenger numbers to jump by 50 per cent as the summer travel season ramps up.
“This is about much more than Toronto Pearson; it’s about global perceptions of our country and the risk that Canada will lose billions of dollars from tourism and business activities if travellers decide that coming to Canada this summer simply isn’t worth the hassle,” GTAA CEO Deborah Flint said in a statement Thursday on delays at the airport.
The federal government had already exempted international travellers with a connecting flight from being pulled aside for random testing. Transport Canada says it has also hired 865 CATSA screening officers since April.
Other measures, such as COVID-19 vaccine mandates and mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app, remain in place. The federal government says the Public Health Agency of Canada is deploying additional staff to airports to verify ArriveCAN submissions and assist travellers in using the app.
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