The Canadian government is resuming its random COVID-19 testing program for international travelers starting Tuesday. The random tests had been suspended last month at the urging of airport authorities on account of long delays.
Foreign flyers arriving in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver will once again be subject to random testing if they are fully vaccinated. Visitors considered not fully vaccinated receive a COVID-19 test automatically. People selected for the program must take a COVID-19 test within one day of their arrival in Canada.
The Canadian Tourism Roundtable denounced the decision, writing, “As our industry works with government, agencies and partners to combat wait times and delays, this announcement marks a step backward,” according to Canadian public broadcaster CBC News.
The Canadian Conservative Party joined in the criticism, saying in a statement, “More vindictive COVID theatre directed by [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau will only serve to further discourage international travellers,” as reported by CBC News.
In advance of the move, the Canadian government has heeded some advice from airport authorities. Examinations have been moved off-site, and travelers can pre-book virtual self-swab appointments before entering Canada.
For its part, the government is gung-ho about bringing back the tests. In a press release, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra noted that this “marks an important step in our progress to streamline testing processes outside our airports while preventing the further spread of COVID-19,” CBC News reported.