Showing a fake COVID-19 test result at the Canadian border and putting communities at risk is soo last January, but apparently there's still people out there trying to cheat the system, according to new information the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) shared with CBC.
Between Jan. 7 and up until March 25 of this year, the CBSA caught 10 suspected fraudulent test documents at airports across Canada.
In addition, at the Canada-U.S. land border from Feb. 15 to March 24, officers nabbed 20 people trying to enter Canada with a suspected fake COVID-19 test result.
"All travellers arriving in Canada are obligated by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions," Brissette Lesage told CBC News. "Providing false information to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada or making false fraudulent attempts is a serious offence and may result in penalties and/or criminal charges."
Word of buying fake COVID-19 tests first surfaced in January, just days after Ottawa announced new rules for air passengers arriving in Canada, requiring them to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, conducted within 72 hours, before boarding their flights.
Suspicions that some travellers may try to circumvent the rules intensified after a Quebec-based journalist, in a Jan. 9 story, reported how easy it was to purchase a bogus negative COVID-19 test result in Cancun, Mexico.
The journalist claims she was able to obtain a false negative test, in less than 60 minutes and for $100.
She even managed to get the “test” approved by a border officer at Montreal airport, despite it being 100 per cent fake.
Canada’s border security has perhaps sharpened its detection tools since then.
Last February, Transport Canada announced that it had fined two individuals $10,000 and $7,000 respectively for presenting a false, or misleading, COVID-19 test and for making a false declaration about their health status.
“Passengers are prohibited from knowingly providing false or misleading COVID-19 test documentation,” Transport Canada stated at the time. “Any passenger failing to comply with the Interim Order could be subject to fines of up to $5,000 per violation.”
Transport Canada says that it “will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted.”
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