Workers are seen at a check-in counter at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Airlines say a slew of questions remain around the federal government’s decision that requires returning passengers to first show negative results on COVID-19 tests taken abroad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Workers are seen at a check-in counter at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Airlines say a slew of questions remain around the federal government’s decision that requires returning passengers to first show negative results on COVID-19 tests taken abroad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Airlines slam ‘confusion’ new COVID-19 testing rules create for carriers, passengers

Transport Department has yet to provide a list of foreign agencies whose tests are considered acceptable

Airlines say a slew of questions remain about the federal government’s decision to require passengers returning to Canada to show negative results on COVID-19 tests taken abroad.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced Thursday that air travellers overseas will have to present proof of a negative molecular test — known as a PCR test, conducted with a nasal swab — that was taken within 72 hours of departure, unless the testing is unavailable in that country.

National Airlines Council of Canada chief executive Mike McNaney says the Transport Department has yet to provide a list of foreign agencies whose tests are considered acceptable or to establish how airline employees should determine whether a test document is valid.

He says the new rule, which mandates a 14-day quarantine in Canada regardless of the test result, will cause “confusion” and “frustration” for carriers and passengers alike.

Air Transat vice-president Christophe Hennebelle says Ottawa announced the requirement, which takes effect this Thursday, “out of the blue” without any prior consultation or notice to industry.

Transport Canada did not immediately respond to questions Monday.

The rule comes as a devastated airline sector continues to bleed cash following a collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.

It also arrives amid growing criticism of the federal sick-leave benefit that pays $500 per week for up to two weeks to Canadians quarantined after touching down from abroad, including after vacations.

Some federal and provincial politicians are among those who chose to travel beyond Canada’s borders over the holidays, despite public-health recommendations against non-essential travel.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

AirlinesCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

File Photo
UPDATE: Missing female has been found

Hope Tivendale was last seen on January 12 in Blackfalds

Environment Canada issued a wind warning for parts of central Alberta on Jan. 13, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Wind warning issued for central Alberta

Environment Canada said strong northwesterly winds will develop in the morning and weaken in the evening

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

Most Read