More Changes Coming To Pearson Airport As Canada Tightens Up Its Travel Rules Again

Mandatory random testing kicks in today. 👇

Inside Toronto Pearson Airport.
Toronto Associate Editor

Inside Toronto Pearson Airport.

Calling all jet-setters: if you are travelling through Toronto Pearson Airport this week, you might want to prepare to get tested for COVID-19 after your flight because the travel rules have changed (again).

On July 14, Health Canada announced that mandatory random testing is coming back to four major airports in the country, including Pearson, starting on Tuesday, July 19.

This means anyone who is fully vaccinated might have to leave the airport to be tested for COVID-19 following their flights. As per Health Canada, testing will be done either through an in-person appointment at a provider location, like a pharmacy or through an appointment online.

"Moving testing outside of airports will support testing for travellers arriving by air while still being able to monitor and quickly respond to new variants of concern, or changes to the epidemiological situation," the announcement reads.

A spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) told Narcity that they are "pleased" to see the Canadian government move the testing off-site, and noted that this could help smooth out fliers' travel experiences since they say that happened when testing was briefly scrapped last month.

"The temporary pause in mandatory random testing at airports was helpful as it resulted in a smoother experience for arriving passengers," Tori Gass from the GTAA told Narcity via email.

"This, along with increased CBSA staffing, contributed to lower wait times for planes that need to be held on arrival due to high passenger volumes in the customs hall."

Back in June, the feds announced that they would suspend mandatory randomized testing to help ease some of the travel delays fliers have had to deal with in the last few weeks.

So, how will it work?

"Customs officers will also not need to manually select travellers for testing, which will help move passengers more smoothly through arrivals," said Gass.

The federal government said that all air travellers that are chosen — fully vaccinated or not — will get an email within 15 minutes after their customs declaration.

According to the feds, the email will have all the necessary info to help travellers arrange their test with a testing provider in their area.

"Unvaccinated travellers can complete their tests by a virtual appointment or an in-person appointment with the test provider at their store or select pharmacies and still respect their quarantine requirements," the notice reads.

Under the current travel rules, anyone who doesn't qualify as fully vaccinated will have to quarantine for 14 days when they return from their trip and test themselves on the first and eighth day, unless they're exempt.

The feds also remind travellers to continue using ArriveCAN and fill it out properly within 72 hours before returning to Canada.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor