Mississauga and Brampton councillors call on feds to ban leisure travel to Pearson Airport

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Published April 22, 2021 at 8:52 pm

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At an April 22 Peel Regional Council meeting, councillors from Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon unanimously passed a motion calling on the federal government to increase travel restrictions in order to prevent new strains of COVID-19 from entering Canada. 

The move came on the same day that Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault asked the federal government to “further strengthen measures at air and land borders.” 

The motion, moved by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and seconded by Brampton Councillor Michael Palleschi, says that the hard-hit region is already dealing with significant community transmission and is vulnerable to an influx of additional COVID-19 cases, including variants not yet reported in Ontario.

The motion says new cases and variants “threaten to infiltrate the community from interprovincial and international destinations on flights arriving at Toronto Pearson International Airport.” 

As of now, all people entering Canada (typically Canadian citizens or permanent residents returning from abroad) must take a COVID-19 test before and after landing and stay in a quarantine hotel, at their own expense, for at least three days. 

While the federal government has often insisted its border measures are strict and already prohibit leisure travel into the country, there have been multiple reports of people (many of whom are citizens) refusing to go to quarantine hotels upon landing, electing to pay a fine instead. 

Most recently, residents have called on the federal government to ban flights from global hotspots such as India, something Ottawa has suggested it’s considering. 

In the past, the federal government has temporarily banned flights from hotspots, such as the UK, amid concern over variants. 

The motion calls on Regional Chair Nando Iannicca to write to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to request that all non-essential travel from interprovincial and international hot spot destinations to Toronto Pearson International Airport be suspended until the threat of transmission of COVID-19, including emerging variants, is “sufficiently addressed.” 

“And further, that the federal government be requested to immediately develop and implement an effective strategy to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 from all destinations,” the motion reads.   

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