Mandatory Quarantine Travel restrictions in Canada
By Eunice Machuhi.
The government of Canada has issued new Covid-19 regulations targeted at travelers returning to the country.
Canadian Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau says that Canadians will now have two options when returning to Canada from abroad.
One of the options is to get tested in the destination and if there is a lack of facilities available, mandatory quarantine in a government-run facility upon return.
The rules billed to take effect on January 7, 2021, at 12.01 a.m will require all air passengers, five years of age or older to test negative for COVID-19 before entering Canada from another country.
During an interview with CBC news just on New Year's Eve, the minister also indicated that this implementation date would give all airlines, both foreign and domestic, adequate time to comply with the new requirements.
Garneau noted that airlines would understand the measures.
"I know that we've been talking with the airlines, and they will rise to the occasion on this new requirement for pre-departure testing," he said.
However, in a separate interview with CBC News, Mike McNaney, the president and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada, representing the country's largest carriers, said one week was not enough to comply with the new regulations.
"Our primary concerns are the timeframe, the extremely tight timeframe, and the lack of information and guidance as to what we are going to be obligated to do," Mike McNaney told CBC News.
McNaney added that implementation of this broad policy was a very complex activity since there was a need to communicate with the airlines' front-line employees worldwide and work with regulators and other jurisdictions.
"We do not know what will be deemed to be properly certified testing labs to provide results. We do not know the acceptable format for passengers to provide the information and be in compliance with the government policy. We do not have regulation and we do not have guidance material at all," he said during the interview.
However, Garneau said airlines have shown they're able to quickly handle "sudden situations" brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government will be boosting its surveillance efforts to make sure travelers are following the rules. The penalties for breaking the Quarantine Act can include six months in prison or $750,000 in fines.