Toronto Pearson operator ‘pleased’ to see random COVID testing moved offsite |

The operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport says it is “pleased” to see the federal government moving mandatory random COVID-19 testing offsite.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) said the temporary pause in mandatory random testing at airports “was helpful as it resulted in a smoother experience for arriving passengers.”

“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.”

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The pause took effect on June 11, but the federal government has announced random testing will resume at the country’s four main airports starting Tuesday, albeit offsite.

“We’re pleased to see the government moving testing offsite starting July 19. Customs officers will also not need to manually select travellers for testing, which will help move passengers more smoothly through arrivals,” GTAA said.

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Prior to the temporary pause in testing, GTAA cited the random COVID-19 testing program as one of the key reasons passengers were facing delays at Pearson.

As a result, the airport authority had called for the testing to be removed, and then on June 9 called for a temporary pause.

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The government now says testing will resume as of July 19 for fully vaccinated travellers arriving at the Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto airports.

It says all testing will be completed outside of airports for unvaccinated people as well as those who are fully or partially vaccinated.

The testing will be completed either at an in-person appointment at select testing locations or via a virtual appointment for a swab test.

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated must test on both the first and eighth days of their mandatory 14-day quarantine, unless exempt.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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