Sunday, June 26, 2022

Toronto’s Pearson Airport favors scrapping vaccine mandate for domestic, outbound travel

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport says removing the vaccine mandate for domestic and outbound travel is “a step in the right direction”, as passengers face longer wait times and increased flight cancellations. Is.

The federal government announced on Tuesday that vaccine requirements for outbound international travel along with domestic travel on planes and trains would be suspended until June 20.

However, foreign nationals coming to Canada will still need to be vaccinated.

The government says the move is “based on science”, but the travel industry hopes it will relieve long delays at airports across the country, mainly due to staff shortages and remaining COVID-19 health checks. which are responsible for slowing down the processing time. customs.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabara says the government is working swiftly to address delays, especially as unvaccinated Canadians will soon be able to fly.

“We have significantly increased resources for CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority), CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency), we have suspended and are going to lift random testing at airports (site), we have streamlined some processes including ArrivCan…,” he said during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.

“Well the data proves it. We’ve been seeing significant improvements in delay data over the past few weeks, whether for outbound travel or inbound travel, but I know we need to do more,” he said.

As of last Saturday, random COVID testing at airports for vaccinated travelers returning to Canada was suspended until June 30. After July 1, all randomized tests will be done off-site.

Last September, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, which operates Pearson Airport, introduced a mandatory vaccination policy for its employees. The government said on Tuesday that it was also lifting a vaccine mandate for union-regulated workers.

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GTAA spokesman Tori Gass says it would be helpful for those workers to remove the vaccine mandate as airport workers who were terminated during this busy travel season could be rehired.

“While vaccination rates in the Toronto Pearson worker community have been high during the pandemic, there are hundreds of workers in the Pearson ecosystem who are sitting on edge because of this policy, and in a situation where we can access every trained and able-bodied . To support our recovery, this represents a very positive development,” she wrote in a statement Tuesday ahead of the government’s announcement.

“Of course, much more can and should be done to address the delays faced by airports, including moving all health checks out of airports,” he said.

Ontario’s Tourism Industry Association is also in favor of removing the vaccine mandate, saying it would reduce barriers and red tape to travel.

“This is something that we are calling on the federal government to do, to remove the barriers to travel that make it difficult for tourist markets to reach visitors. It has been two years of travel barriers and restrictions and So this is such an important step in getting travel back to normal,” Jessica Ng, director of policy and government relations, told CP24.

“We eventually need to follow the lead of the European counterparts and remove the vaccine mandate for all travelers in all directions,” she said.

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the move is welcome news for small businesses, but more restrictions are needed, especially for international travellers.

“Unvaccinated travelers still have to quarantine upon their return to Canada. This is an added burden on many businesses and their employees, such as truck drivers, who cross the border for work. The federal government also did not provide any clarity. That’s when it will lift the ban on international travelers who haven’t been vaccinated,” CFIB President Dan Kelly wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

Ottawa issued a vaccine mandate for travelers on October 30, 2021, requiring all passengers on planes or trains to be vaccinated with two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

However, many health experts have argued that the mandate has been out of date for some time because two doses are not enough to suppress transmission of the Omicron version of the virus.

“The goal of that program was to really prevent transmission of COVID or at least reduce the risk of transmission of COVID in those settings. It is very clear in the Omicron-era that two doses of a vaccine, while still helping to prevent serious infections like hospitalization and death… Isaac Bogoch told CP24 on Tuesday morning.

“There’s this convergence between science, epidemiology, policy, and a little bit of politics sprinkled in, too, I’m sure, and you can see why leaving it out now is the right thing to do,” he said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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