Conservatives Demand Answers on Government’s Announcement Regarding Pre-Arrival COVID-19 Testing

January 2, 2021

CALGARY, AB – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Health, the Hon. Peter Kent, Shadow Minister for Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, and Pierre Paul-Hus, Shadow Minister for Public Services and Procurement, issued the following statement regarding outstanding concerns related to the new testing requirement for air travellers entering Canada:

“The federal Liberals have recently decided to introduce a confusing and haphazard new pre-arrival PCR testing policy, which affects thousands of Canadians currently abroad.

“For months, Canada’s Conservatives have been calling for Justin Trudeau to get his act together and create a real plan to test international travellers at our airports. Yet, after almost a year of lockdowns and restrictions, he still hasn’t developed a clear plan. Also, federally regulated airline workers remain in limbo, planning business with no support and subsequently advertising travel abroad. Further, we are hearing reports that the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit can be used by people who have chosen to engage in international leisure travel.

“These contradictory and unclear messages have resulted in mass confusion and panic. Today, Conservative MPs are receiving many calls from constituents affected by these changes who are desperate for details. In addition to questions that we have been raising since Wednesday, some key questions that many constituents have been asking our offices include:

• Given that the 14-day quarantine will still apply to returning travellers, will the government consider antigen/rapid testing where PCR tests are difficult or impossible to obtain?
• In some jurisdictions PCR tests are several hundred to a thousand dollars. What should families currently abroad without the means to pay for the test do?
• Given that the 14 day quarantine requirement still applies, will the government grandfather in people who were out of the country before the new requirement was announced for a set period of time, to allow people in areas with limited PCR testing availability and limited flight schedules the ability to get to Canada and quarantine at home?
• Where can Canadians stuck abroad with the new testing requirements call for more information?
• If a Canadian family is unable to obtain a PCR test abroad, what are the details around the announcement that they will have to quarantine in a federal facility?
• Will the Prime Minister clarify a statement attributed to a spokesperson for the Employment Minister today regarding non-essential travellers being allowed to claim $1,000 in emergency benefits while they complete the two week mandatory quarantine upon their return?

“With the clock ticking down on the new PCR testing requirement coming into force, the Liberals must announce answers to these and other questions we have been asking since Wednesday, today. We call upon them to do so immediately.”