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COVID-19 Travel Restrictions on the Canadian Government Need to Be Lifted Immediately

Montreal – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is once again urging the Canadian government to halt COVID-19-related travel restrictions immediately. These are no longer in line with the worldwide trend of lowering restrictions and are partly responsible for Canada’s air travelers enduring delays and disruption.

“Canada has become a total outlier in managing COVID-19 and travel. While governments across the globe are rolling back restrictions, the Government of Canada is reinstating them. The Government should follow the lead of its peers, including, for example, Australia. While that country had some of the toughest travel restrictions during the height of the pandemic, it has now lifted these, including the vaccination requirement. Rather than following this example and enabling travel and tourism to recover, those in power in Canada believe that throwing more red tape at the pandemic is the way forward,” said Peter Cerda, IATA’s Regional Vice President for the Americas.

As a result, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is urging the Canadian government to take action on the following topics:

Remove any prior testing of incoming international passengers

– If, as planned, random testing is reinstated on July 19, 2022, tourists will be compelled to visit a designated testing center or take a self-test after arrival. If travelers are diagnosed with the virus, they must stay confined for 10 days rather than the usual isolation period recommended by any Canadian provincial or territorial health authority, which singles them out unfairly.

– Reduce the current 14-day quarantine period in line with global best practices. The 14-day mandatory quarantine is one of the longest in the world. It is not possible to effectively monitor all arriving passengers for compliance, so the measure only serves to make people think twice about traveling. The Canadian government should work with the provinces and territories to align the quarantine period with global best practice, a 10-day self-isolation period.

– The Canadian government has been slow to respond to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, and its current policies are out of step with the rest of the world. The government must take immediate action to remove the travel restrictions in place to help the Canadian economy recover.

The vaccination requirement for international travel should be ended

– The vaccination requirement for international travel to Canada is outdated, as only the basic immunizations and no booster vaccines must be considered completely vaccinated. Furthermore, in everyday life in Canada, proof of vaccination is no longer required. The manual and time-consuming documentation verification at flight origins outside of Canada and during immigration would be unnecessary if this requirement were to be lifted.

Simply use ArriveCAN as a way to get into customs

– Removing the vaccination requirement would also allow ArriveCAN to be utilized only for customs and immigration purposes rather than for capturing and verifying COVID-19 health and vaccination data. In addition, airlines are now required to submit a list of passengers who have not completed ArriveCAN any later than 60 minutes before departure. This puts an unnecessary burden on airlines, which are already struggling to recover from the pandemic.

– The Canadian government should reinstate the Paternity Declaration Authorization (PDA) for all air travelers entering the country. The PDA allows airlines to electronically verify that a passenger has the required travel documents before departure. This would help reduce the time spent at immigration upon arrival in Canada and the potential for lost or misplaced documentation.

Ending Face-Mask Mandates

Although the law was temporary, The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has argued that it should not be revoked. Instead, critics recommend amending the act so that mandatory face covering is prohibited at airports and on airplanes, as they are no longer required in most public areas in Canada, such as public transportation and sports venues.

“After more than two years of onerous COVID-19 restrictions, people want to be able to travel again, as we can clearly see from the current level of demand. Ramping up the entire value chain has come with some challenges. Maintaining outdated COVID-19 restrictions contributes to the delays passengers are experiencing at major Canadian international gateways. Governments need to ensure that travel restrictions are designed to address today’s environment, not the environment of the previous two years. Now is the time for the Government of Canada to join its counterparts around the world and remove unnecessary and outdated measures,” said Cerda.

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