Canada Suspends Random COVID-19 Tests At Airports Over Travel Delays

This file photo taken on June 4, 2021 shows a staff member uses a self-testing kit for the coronavirus causing Covid-19 at the UBO University of Western Brittany in Brest. The sale of Covid self-tests outside pharmacies has been authorised in France until January 31, 2022.
Fred TANNEAU / AFP

 

 

Canada is suspending random COVID-19 tests at airports until the end of June in a bid to reduce chronic delays to travelers in recent weeks, the government said Friday. 

The tests will be put on hold from Saturday and will resume “off site” on July 1, according to a government statement.

“We continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season,” it said.

Numerous aviation officials have spoken out against the tests in recent weeks, saying they have worsened wait times at airports, already hit by understaffing.

In Toronto, as in Montreal, it takes several hours for passengers to leave the airport. A nationwide labor shortage has worsened recently and is affecting all sectors.

Many passengers have taken to social media in recent days to complain about being stuck in their planes after landing before being allowed to disembark, but also about long queues when checking their baggage.

The country’s main airline, Air Canada, has admitted to being hit by these problems.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told the media that “extended delays in security and customs,” had recently forced airlines to cancel some flights.

The government has promised to continue to hire screening officers at airports. The statement Friday said 865 people have joined the ranks of air transport security since April.