Monday,  April 12, 2021  3:14 pm

Ford to announce mandatory COVID-19 testing at Ontario airports & border crossings: report

Ford to announce mandatory COVID-19 testing at Ontario airports & border crossings: report
Ontario Premier Doug Ford. (file photo)
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.

Premier Doug Ford is set to announce mandatory COVID-19 testing at Ontario’s airports and border crossings on Friday (Jan. 29) in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19 variants. 

According to a government source that spoke to CP24, Ford will make the announcement on the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to unveil new restrictions for international travel. 

The report adds to previous reports this week suggesting that Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, was looking into issuing a section 22 order under the Health Promotion and Protection Act to mandate testing for international arrivals. 

A CBC News report filed Friday morning is also backing up the claims. 

Ford is expected to share more details at a news conference at Queen's Park at 3 p.m. EST later today. 

Long overdue

Premier Ford has long called on the federal government to speed up testing efforts at airports to catch COVID-19 in its tracks before entering communities.

Mandatory testing at airports has been one of Ford's loudest federal requests in calling for tougher action at the border.

The free COVID-19 testing service that Ontario opened at Toronto Pearson airport on Jan. 6 has, so far, been completely voluntary for travellers arriving from outside of the country.

Of the 6,800-plus tests that have been collected at Pearson, (and of those who have received confirmed lab results), 146 cases, or 2.26 per cent, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to stats provided by the Ontario government. 

The percentage of coronavirus virus cases linked to travelling abroad is low, however. 

Recent data shows that just 1.8 per cent of all COVID cases in Canada are related to international travel.

Ford is also calling on the federal government to temporarily ban flights from countries where COVID-19 variants have been reported, such as Brazil and Portugal.

Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to tighten Canada's travel restrictions by possibly unveiling a mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for all international arrivals. 

An official announcement is expected later this morning. 

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