Province to roll out mandatory international traveller testing at Pearson ahead of federal program

All inbound international travellers must submit to a COVID test as of February 1

Just after the feds announced plans to start testing all inbound international travellers, the province has gone and done the same.

Premier Doug Ford announced on Friday that his government will begin the mandatory testing of all international travellers coming into Pearson Airport in Toronto. This new measure will come into effect on February 1, while the province is exploring testing options at land border crossings.

Ford’s announcement came hours following a similar edict from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in which he promised on-arrival testing in the coming weeks. Trudeau also stated that all international flights can only land at one of four airports, those in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, or Montreal.

“We welcome the new measures announced by the federal government today, but we need a stop-gap to prevent new cases, including variant cases, from arriving in Ontario until those measures are fully in place,” said Premier Ford. “That’s why our government is taking immediate and decisive action, which includes mandatory testing of incoming international travellers.”

These measures are meant to combat an emerging variant of the COVID-19 virus. Ontario’s first UK variant case was confirmed last month and was due to international travel. Since that time, 51 cases of the variant have been confirmed in the province, including ten in Simcoe-Muskoka. Evidence shows that the UK variant could be up to 56 per cent more transmissible.