Canada temporarily halts random COVID-19 testing at airports

Canada will suspend mandatory random COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travelers at all airports until June 30. Unvaccinated travelers will still be tested onsite until July 1, when testing for all travelers will be moved offsite. Transport Canada announced the change on Friday, saying it will reduce wait times at Canadian airports.

“Our efforts are having a positive impact. Current traveler wait times at major Canadian airports are decreasing,” Transport Canada said in a statement.

Since early May, domestic and international passengers have faced serious delays at airports across the country. Some passengers said they were stuck in queues of over 500 people, and some even missed their flights as a result.

“Now online for 1.5 hours. Another hour left. Just to get through security on a domestic flight,” said a disgruntled passenger. tweeted at Toronto Pearson Airport.

For weeks, travelers departing from Montreal’s Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau International Airport have been advised to arrive at least three hours in advance for departures for weeks.

Last month, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) reported that major layoffs in the aviation industry, particularly in security screening staff, were a major cause of delays.

Since April, CATSA has hired 865 new screening officers to speed up processing times.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced that it is also adding additional staff to the airport a few days a week to ensure travelers have completed their ArriveCAN submissions upon arrival. The hires will assist anyone having issues with the app and keep passengers informed of ongoing changes to airport security protocol.

“The Government of Canada recognizes the impact that long wait times at some Canadian airports have on travellers. We continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the peak summer season,” said Transport Canada.