Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters on Wednesday (Dec. 2) that he wants to "knock down" Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers returning to Canada.
The Premier made his remarks while responding to a reporter’s question about whether restrictions between Canada and the United States should be tightened as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
Ford has been a vocal supporter of Alberta’s COVID-19 pilot project, which aims to reduce quarantine times for travellers through rapid testing at Coutts land border crossing in southern Alberta and Calgary International Airport.
The project, which launched in Alberta on Nov. 2, is the type of initiative that Premier Ford would like to see in Ontario, and the politician has made it clear that he wants Ottawa’s support.
“We're working with the federal government right now at Toronto Pearson to reduce the downtime once you come back," Ford told journalists on Wednesday. "You have to quarantine for 14-days, we want to knock that down."
Under Alberta’s project, international travellers receive a COVID-19 test upon entering Canada before they go into quarantine.
If their test comes back negative, travellers are relieved of their quarantine duties, but must take another test six or seven days after their arrival date.
"I'm really pushing it because if you can land and you can get tested right away and then you get tested, I think it’s five to seven days later, and they both come out negative, you should be able to go on your way,” said Ford.
Ontario’s Premier added that Ottawa needs to “step it up” when it comes to overseeing travellers entering Canada, suggesting that officials at least take people’s temperatures and not “let them walk off and hop in a taxi.”
Ford also suspects that people are not following the 14-day quarantine rules when returning to Canada.
Restrictions extended to 2021
The Government of Canada recently extended its mandatory quarantine order and travel restrictions for all travellers seeking entry into Canada from a country other than the U.S., until January 21, 2021.
Travel restrictions for U.S. citizens and foreign nationals arriving from the U.S. remain in place until Dec. 21, 2020 and may be extended at that time.
"Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is my most important responsibility. We have introduced a number of policies to keep Canadians safe but must remain flexible and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 situation, while keeping your health as our top priority," stated Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on Nov. 29.
Travellers entering Canada must now submit a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment and quarantine plan, electronically, before boarding their flight, through the new ArriveCAN app.
A mandatory requirement, the app produces a receipt upon completion, which travellers must show border officers before and, in some cases, after clearing Canadian customs.
Failure to submit the required information through the ArriveCAN app can result in enforcement action, ranging from verbal warnings to a $1,000 fine.
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