Canada Temporarily Suspending Random Testing

The Canadian government has announced that it will ‘temporarily suspend’ random testing at all airports between June 11 and June 30, 2020.

The announcement was made by Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra; Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos; Minister of Public Safety, Marco Mendicino; and Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault.

In announcing the move, the Ministers said in a statement: “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.”

The statement continued: “Our efforts are having a positive impact. Current traveller wait times at major Canadian airports are decreasing.”

And they announced that: “Today, the Government of Canada is also announcing that Mandatory randomized testing will be temporarily suspended at all airports between Saturday, June 11 and Thursday, June 30, 2022. Unvaccinated travellers will still be tested on-site. As of July 1, all testing, including for unvaccinated travellers, will be performed off-site.”

It continued that: “This expanded measure builds upon action currently underway by the Government of Canada and the air industry,” including:

  • Regular meetings of Transport Canada (TC), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), and key industry partners to find solutions to address bottlenecks at pre-board security screening and pre-clearance departure checkpoints, and customs halls.
  • Hiring of CATSA screening officers continues. Since April, 865 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada. CBSA is also maximizing officer availability and additional Student Border Services Officers are now at work.
  • Prioritizing the issuance of Transportation Security Clearances and Restricted Area Identity Cards for CATSA screening officers to expedite the hiring process and build immediate capacity.
  • CBSA and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority are making available additional kiosks at Toronto Pearson International Airport customs hall areas.
  • Increasing communication with travellers and stakeholders through social media, signage and multimedia screens to better prepare them for the pre-boarding screening and arrival processing requirements and facilitate a smoother passage in and out of airports.

The statement noted that: “Travellers are reminded that the use of ArriveCAN before coming to the airport helps remove unnecessary delays. PHAC is adding additional staff on select days at airports to verify that travellers have completed their ArriveCAN submissions on arrival and further inform air travellers about the importance of the mandatory requirements. PHAC staff will assist travellers in completing ArriveCAN if they were unable to do so.”

And it concluded: “We recognize that there is still work to be done, particularly for international arrivals at our largest airports, and we will continue to work with all orders of governments and partners to reduce the delays in the travel system.”