Canada tightening travel restrictions again 'until vaccines are widely available'

Jan 27, 2021

Ontario Premier Doug Ford visited Toronto's Pearson Airport Monday, as he urged the federal government to bolster travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Ford wants every person coming into the country to be tested for COVID-19, whether they arrive by air or land. He also wants the federal government to temporarily ban direct flights from countries where the new variants are detected, including Brazil and Portugal.

"Until vaccines are widely available, we all need to do our part & that means tighter controls at our border," Ford tweeted Monday.

Since Jan. 7, most air passengers coming into Canada must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in Canada. But government data shows that since then, dozens of flights have landed in Canada where passengers were later found to have COVID-19.

A voluntary screening program at Toronto's Pearson International Airport began Jan. 6 and has tested more than 6,800 travellers.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is actively looking at ways to tighten the border. He said new restrictions on travel are coming and is urging Canadians to cancel all travel plans they may have. That includes canceling travel abroad and travel to other provinces.

Trudeau noted that while the number of new cases linked to travel remains low, the bad choices of a few won't be allowed to put others in danger. He said every case of COVID-19 coming in from abroad is a case too many.

He is also announcing new government-backed loans for businesses to help them cope with ongoing economic fallout.