Thursday,  October 21, 2021  6:42 am

“Expect delays”: Airports advise of changes to arrival experience as Canada’s travel rules ease

“Expect delays”: Airports advise of changes to arrival experience as Canada’s travel rules ease
Air Canada loads passengers at Toronto Pearson International Airport. (Pax Global Media)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Monday, July 5, 2021, will forever be remembered as the date that Canada’s border and quarantine rules, after 16 months of coronavirus-related restrictions, finally began to ease – slowly – for some travellers.

Starting at 12:01 am ET on July 5, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents who have had a full series of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Government of Canada will be able to skip their 14-day quarantine.

Eligible travellers arriving in Canada by air will also be exempt from spending three days in government-approved hotel, putting an end to a policy that was met with widespread criticism and complications.

Returning Canadians will also have to show proof of their COVID-19 vaccine via the government's ArriveCAN app before arriving, undergo pre- and on-arrival PCR testing, be asymptomatic and have a quarantine plan ready to go, just in case.

Anyone who arrived before today must still spend two weeks in quarantine upon arrival, says Canada Border Services Agency.

Click here for a breakdown of the changes, as outlined by the Government of Canada. 

Toronto Pearson is notifying passengers that “international arriving passengers should expect delays

The changes – Canada’s first phase in reopening international travel – are not perfect, as some travel agents and aviation groups have pointed out.

READ MORE: “It's about to get very busy”: Travel pros react to Ottawa easing restrictions for fully-vaxxed travellers

But it’s a start, and as travel agents report an uptick in business, airports, too, are flagging key changes to the arrival experience due to new health screening and crowd-control procedures. 

Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), on Monday (July 5), posted an advisory to their website, noting that “international arriving passengers should expect delays” as travel restrictions change. 

“Your arrival experience will be different than trips prior to the pandemic,” Pearson airport writes, issuing a warning of additional screening, health checks and delays to the arrivals process.

Changes to the arrival experience 

Pearson is urging those who are entering Canada to remember the following points:

  • If a flight arrives during peak times, passengers may be asked to deplane from the aircraft to an area within the terminal. Passengers will be required to wait for space to become available in the customs hall, where processing begins.
  • Once at customs, you will be screened by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer, where you will present your documents and show your ArriveCAN app submission.
  • After screening is completed by a CBSA officer, you may be referred to the Public Health Agency of Canada to answer additional questions.
  • The next step in the process is to collect your luggage, before proceeding to the arrivals testing area. All passengers must complete a COVID-19 test on arrival into Canada, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated travellers are strongly encouraged to pre-book their government approved accommodation prior to entering Canada. Passengers who have not booked their government approved accommodation prior to entering Canada can do so from the baggage hall. Booking at the airport will add additional processing time to your arrival journey.
  • When testing is complete, fully vaccinated travellers can leave the airport. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers will be required to go to their government approved accommodation.

Pearson has shared these links to help passengers prepare for a smooth journey:

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has issued a similar statement, saying in a release on June 29 that passing through Canada’s border “will look different” and may take longer.

“The airport team is ready to support our passengers through these new processes,” YVR said in a statement.

The airport also listed ways that travellers can properly prepare for their trip in advance, which you can view here.

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