December 16, 2021
The Canadian Airports Council issued the following statement today with regards to ongoing issues around testing at airports and the new travel advisory announced by the federal government on December 15, 2021.
“Canada’s airports understand the Government of Canada has an obligation to keep Canadians safe in light of the impact of the omicron variant. However, the decision to impose a blanket travel advisory, plus the ongoing confusion about arrivals testing at airports, has created a great deal of uncertainty for Canadians, particularly just prior to the holiday season, adversely affecting lives and livelihoods.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the air travel sector has worked on mitigation and safety measures to keep travellers safe at every step of their journey. In addition, prior to this latest round of measures, Canada already had some of the most stringent vaccine requirements, air travel restrictions and testing protocols in the world.
“Travellers have done their part too – being fully vaccinated, lining up for tests, complying with masking and distancing requirements. They should not be penalized by travel restrictions with limited impact on the safety of travellers, airport workers or communities.
“The variant is already spreading in the community, and is predicted to shortly become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Canada. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that blanket travel bans will not stop its spread internationally.
“Canadians would be better served if the federal government were to step away from restricting travel and instead focus on what we know works to slow the virus: ramping up vaccinations, implementing standardized and predictable testing (including at-home and rapid testing), and continued social distancing and masking.
“Airports and industry partners are committed to the same public health standards and outcomes as the government, and have the skills and expertise to operationalize government travel measures. We ask the government to work with airports directly to ensure arrivals testing is simple and intuitive for passengers and avoids unnecessary congestion and lineups.”
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