Ottawa reinstated a travel advisory for passengers at Mississauga’s Pearson Airport

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Published December 15, 2021 at 10:05 am

UPDATE: At a press conference this afternoon, the federal government officially reinstated a travel advisory asking Canadians to avoid all non-essential air travel outside Canada. Update also includes a comment from Canada’s Health Minister

The federal government is considering a move to reinstate an international travel advisory that would reduce the number of passengers going through Pearson Airport in Mississauga and other airports across the country.

As the new, much more transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus surges in communities across Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reportedly speaking with Canadian premiers today about the possibility of once again issuing an air travel advisory against all non-essential travel to foreign countries.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said today that “now is not the time” for people to travel internationally.

The same advisory had been in place since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, advising all people regardless of vaccination status to avoid such travel.

But the blanket advisory was quietly lifted by Ottawa in October, replaced by a new recommendation that only those who remained unvaccinated were to avoid non-essential air travel.

The lifting of various travel restrictions that began in September had started to bring passenger numbers at Pearson Airport back up, but still nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.

With travel restrictions once again in place, Pearson and other airports across the country can expect another dip in business.

Meanwhile, travellers arriving at Pearson from countries other than the U.S. continue to be randomly tested for COVID-19 upon arrival as Ottawa works with the airport to eventually ramp up testing to include 100 per cent of arrivals.

The move to test each and every traveller arriving at Pearson and other airports has taken longer than initially anticipated, as logistics have proven challenging.

Still, the increase in testing has added to the lengthy lineups and overall chaos, at times, at Pearson. Many travellers making their way through the Mississauga-based airport have taken to social media to express frustration with the process.

Others, though in fewer numbers, have come to the defence of Pearson, suggesting conditions there are better than at a number of other major airports.

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