COVID-19: Some travellers through Pearson International Airport violating Quarantine Act

Lawrence Kim
February 26, 2021

At worldwide arrivals inside Toronto Pearson global Airport there is a line-the line to enter Canada.

"You can not step out of the airport until you have a reservation with you", said Nishant Murthy, who flew in from India.

The only people who should be calling the number, he said, are those whose flight to Canada is scheduled within 48 hours of their call, at which point they can reserve and pay for their three-night hotel stopover. That is on top of providing proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test and taking a COVID-19 test on arrival at the airport.

She says getting the COVID-19 test upon landing in the International Arrivals hall was virtually seamless and she'd had another COVID-19 test in Belgium less than 72 hours before her flight, as Canada also requires.

With the three-day stays coming at the traveller's own expense, it seems many have chosen to simply ignore the supposedly mandatory rule over footing the potentially costly bill.

Reports from earlier this week suggested many travellers were struggling to even book stays in these hotels.

"I'm being forced to go to this hotel", said a visibly frustrated Priya Harrynadan at the time.

Richards said the worldwide access number hung up on her multiple times and when her brother in Toronto called the toll free North American number on her behalf, his wait time was five hours.

Robert Taylor, who is returning after a month working in Chicago, said it was "many hours spent on the phone for no one to pick up and it wasn't until today when we got here".

The remaining 33 flights were worldwide, with only two departing from the airport and 31 landing at Pearson from February 16 to 20.

There are differing opinions on the policy.

Cara Zwibel, a lawyer for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, says she has been asking the federal government for that data, but they haven't made it public.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the tighter border controls are meant to keep everyone safe.

The new program won't begin until at least March 1, so until then, Toronto residents will have to hope travellers comply with current regulations and that the ones who don't aren't carrying anything other than their travel bags. "Who knows when we'll be able to come again", Richards said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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