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Canada Returns to Mandatory Testing for Air Travellers

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Canada is re-establishing mandatory random testing offsite of airports for air travellers

The Government of Canada had paused mandatory random testing for those entering Canada by air on June 11, 2022, which they now claim was part of a broader strategy to transition testing for air travellers outside of the airports. It also goes against the trend of other G20 countries who have dropped mandatory testing.

Mandatory random testing will resume as of July 19, 2022, for travellers who qualify as fully vaccinated, arriving in Canada by air to the four major Canadian airports—Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto. To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller to Canada, travellers must have been vaccinated with a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine accepted by the Government of Canada for the purpose of travel at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada.

All testing for air travellers, for both those who qualify as fully vaccinated and partially or unvaccinated people, will be completed outside of airports, either via an in-person appointment at select testing provider locations and pharmacies, or a virtual appointment for a self-swab test. Travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, unless exempt, must continue to test on Day 1 and Day 8 of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Considering the reality that even vaccinated travellers can test positive for Covid, while unvaccinated or those who have had Covid in the past may test negative, it does seem to be a policy that could be considered discriminatory under the Canadian Charter of Rights. With an upcoming court case on the matter scheduled for September this may simply be a means to prevent being accused of discriminatory actions on the part of the Federal Government.