CALGARY, AB – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Health, and Pierre Paul-Hus, Shadow Minister for Public Services and Procurement, issued the following statement regarding the government’s announcement that they will be requiring all air travellers to test negative for COVID-19 before entering Canada:
“We are glad to hear that the Trudeau Liberals are finally taking our advice and looking at implementing testing protocols for international travellers returning to Canada. However, the lack of details around this announcement is causing panic among Canadians currently abroad. The government has had months to implement a system and today put forward a haphazard announcement that is a response to headlines rather than an actual thoughtful and transparent plan. Canadians abroad deserve better.
“Given this, the government must immediately provide the following information to Canadians:
- When will this requirement come into effect and will Canadians who are currently abroad be grandfathered out of the requirement? Why or why not?
- If Canadians who are currently abroad will be required to obtain PCR tests prior to their return, what provisions will be made for Canadians who are currently in jurisdictions where PCR testing is not easily accessible?
- What type of certification regarding PCR testing will be required, given that testing standards can vary depending on the provider and type of test, and why are airlines being made to take responsibility for managing this requirement?
- Why is this a better option than testing upon arrival at Canadian airports by regulated Canadian officials with ease of certification, as is being done in the pilot project at the Calgary airport?
- Does the government expect enforcement to be carried out by airlines by denying boarding to Canadian citizens?
- The government has stated that they expect airlines to play a major role in this system. Did the government even consult any airlines about their capacity to implement this, and on what timeline?
- Where can Canadians currently abroad get information on this new requirement? Will the federal government be providing a portal, or will this responsibility also be downloaded onto already strapped airlines?
“Our MP offices have already been receiving inquiries this morning from panicked travellers abroad on this new requirement. Further details are immediately needed to avoid causing confusion for any Canadians, while also protecting public health. Justin Trudeau has had months to get his act together on this front, and today’s detail-free announcement is irresponsible.
“Canada’s Conservatives will continue to put forward solutions for the government to protect Canadians in the midst of this pandemic. We will continue to push for these needed answers for Canadians to ensure clarity in the government’s COVID-19 response.”