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

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Weekly COVID-19 case-counts continue to drop in the Central Okanagan

The Central Okanagan recorded 110 cases Jan. 3–9, a huge drop from the 349 noted between Dec. 6 and 12

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

A rendering of BC Housing’s proposed 20-storey rental development at 1451 and 1469 Bertram Street in downtown Kelowna. (Contributed)
BC Housing hoping to build 20-storey rental housing tower in downtown Kelowna

The building would create ‘urgently needed’ new affordable rental housing units downtown

Abigail McCluskey is in the Netherlands training to compete in the World Cup next month. She joins 12 Canadian speedskaters for the international competition later this month. (Dave Holland CSI Calgary)
Penticton speed skater in Netherlands for World Cup

Abigail McCluskey will be skating the long track in the international competition

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement facility. (Good Samaritan Society photo)
Resident of Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement home tests positive for COVID-19

Interior Health has not declared an outbreak at the facility

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

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-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Most Read