Saturday,  January 23, 2021  1:02 pm

Ottawa, airlines agree on passenger info rules to improve contact tracing on flights

Ottawa, airlines agree on passenger info rules to improve contact tracing on flights

Transport Canada has announced new measures to strengthen contact tracing efforts should a passenger test positive for COVID-19 on a domestic flight. 

As it is known, the The Public Health Agency of Canada already has a website that lets travellers see if they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 while travelling.

Until now, however, there has been no consistent approach to directly advising passengers of possible exposure to COVID-19.

Provide contact details at check-in

As part of the enhanced process, passengers will now be asked to provide their contact information - such as an email address and/or phone number - when checking in for their flight operated by major Canadian air carriers.

If possible exposure to COVID-19 is identified on their flight, it will facilitate rapid contact tracing and notification of exposure for passengers.

"Contact tracing and exposure notification is a key tool to assist health officials in their role to limit the spread of the virus, and this enhanced process will provide an additional layer of measures to help protect for those travelling by air domestically," said Transport Minister Marc Garneau. 

In the event of potential exposure to COVID on a domestic flight, it will be up to public health authorities to determine whether contact tracing among passengers is necessary and how to directly notify potentially exposed passengers.

Pan-Canadian collaboration

Transport Canada notes that it has worked with provincial and territorial governments, public health authorities and Canada's largest air carriers to launch this additional level of action nationally.

In a press release, the Government of Canada welcomed the initiative taken by Canada's air carriers to support the implementation of this coherent approach at the national level, and for their proactive role in its implementation.

In his statement, Minister Garneau thanked the provincial and territorial governments, public health authorities and air carriers in Canada "who came together to address this emerging issue."

The reopening of borders. Really?

It should be noted that Garneau begins his statement by alluding to the reopening of Canada's borders. 

"As Canada continues to work towards the safe re-opening of its borders and as we take steps to strengthen our air transportation network, public health remains at the forefront," said the Minister.

We, for one, can't wait to see the results of the government's efforts to reopen borders and strengthen the Canadian air transport network!