Friday,  April 16, 2021  7:45 pm

Ottawa invests $2.5M in Air Canada/McMaster HealthLabs study at YYZ

Ottawa invests $2.5M in Air Canada/McMaster HealthLabs study at YYZ

The case is not over - far from it! - but there are increasing signs of the Government of Canada's desire to ease travel restrictions...if it can be done safely. 

With this in mind, Ottawa has announced an investment of $2.5 million in the border study conducted by McMaster HealthLabs, in collaboration with Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA).

Federal funding will enable the McMaster HealthLabs team to increase the number of study participants to approximately 17,000 participants drawn from international travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport.

Better understand the infection rate among international travellers

Launched in September 2020, the study is intended to better understand the rate of COVID-19 infection among international travellers.

The study will also review the importance of public health measures for travellers and assess the benefits and risks of an airport-based COVID-19 testing and surveillance program. 

"At the beginning of this pandemic, we introduced strong measures at the borders to keep Canadians safe. We've relied on data and evidence to respond to COVID-19, and as we gradually restart our economy, the findings of this study are vital to understand how best to protect the health of Canadians and the Canadian economy. I thank the team at McMaster HealthLabs, for their important work that will help support decisions about border measures that are based on science and evidence," stated Minister Hajdu. 

Her colleague Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour, for her part, applauded the development and testing by McMaster HealthLabs and its partners.

VIDEO: A closer look at Air Canada's COVID-19 study at Toronto Pearson Airport

News of the Government of Canada's investment in the study of McMaster HealthLabs at YYZ comes just days after the announcement of a pilot project for Canadians arriving from international destinations at YYC in collaboration with the Government of Alberta. 

At the same time, WestJet and Vancouver airports are also continuing their COVID-19 rapid test pilot for domestic flights departing from YVR.

The context

The press release issued by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to announce the investment of $2.5 million from Ottawa reminds that it is to protect the Canadian population against the COVID-19 pandemic that the government of Canada, in March 2020, imposed restrictions on entry into Canada and put in place public health measures for travellers authorized to enter Canada.

Since then, upon arrival at the border, travellers have been screened by public health officials and travellers must self-quarantine for 14 days if they do not show symptoms of COVID-19 or self-isolate during the same period if they show symptoms.

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