Travel restrictions

IATA: Canadian government must urgently remove COVID-19 travel restrictions

Pierre Cerda

CANADA – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is once again calling on the Canadian government to urgently end the current travel restrictions related to COVID-19. These are now out of step with the global trend of lifting travel restrictions and are partly responsible for the continued delays and disruptions affecting air travelers across Canada.

“Canada has become a total exception in the management of COVID-19 and travel. As governments around the world roll back restrictions, the Government of Canada is reinstating them. The government should follow the example of its peers, including, for example, Australia. While this country had some of the strictest travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic, it has now lifted them, including the vaccination requirement. Rather than follow this lead and allow travel and tourism to resume, those in power in Canada believe that throwing more red tape at the pandemic is the way forward,” said Pierre CerdaIATA Regional Vice President for the Americas.

Therefore, IATA calls on the Government of Canada to quickly address the following issues:

Abolish random testing of arriving international passengers
If, as announced, random testing is reinstated from July 19, 2022, travelers will be required to either attend a designated testing center or administer a self-test after arrival. In the event of a positive test result, travelers must self-isolate for 10 days, which is twice as long as the average self-isolation period recommended by any provincial or territorial health authority in Canada and again distinguishes travelers by compared to the rest of the population.

Ending the vaccination requirement for international travel
The vaccination mandate for international travel to Canada is essentially obsolete, as only basic vaccination and no booster shots are required to be considered fully vaccinated. In addition, proof of vaccination is no longer used in everyday life in Canada. Ending this travel-related mandate would eliminate the need for time-consuming manual verification of documents at points of origin for flights outside of Canada and at immigration upon arrival.

Use ArriveCAN only as an entry tool for customs
Removing the vaccination mandate would also allow ArriveCAN to be used for customs and immigration purposes only and not to capture and validate health and vaccination information related to COVID-19. That’s what slows down processing at the border. In addition, airlines are now being asked to provide a list of passengers who have not completed ArriveCAN no later than one hour after the departure of an international flight to Canada. This mobilizes essential personnel at a time when resources are already stretched.

Complete Mask Warrants
Mask mandates at airports and on planes must be removed, especially since they are no longer in place in most public places in Canada, including public transit and sports venues.

“After more than two years of heavy COVID-19 restrictions, people want to be able to travel again, as we can clearly see from the current level of demand. The rise of the entire value chain has come with some challenges. Outdated COVID-19 restrictions continue to contribute to passenger delays at major Canadian international gateways. Governments must ensure that travel restrictions are designed to respond to 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,” Cerda said.