Montreal airport abandons dividing travellers at customs by vaccination status

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MONTREAL -- Montreal-Trudeau International Airport has dropped its practice of directing international travellers to different lines at customs based on their vaccination status after a trial failed to produce the desired results, unlike the Toronto-Pearson and Vancouver airports.

The process was piloted on July 5 and 6, the first two days that fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents began to be exempted from mandatory quarantine and testing for COVID-19 on the eighth day after arrival.

"The goal was to have a smooth process, however, the configuration of the primary border control inspection line area and the volumes of fully vaccinated passengers did not allow the goal of smoothness to be achieved," explained Montreal airports public relations director Anne Marcotte.

Upon exiting the public area, however, passengers are directed to screening clinics based on their status to ensure greater fluidity, she said.

Elsewhere in the country, the situation is different. Travelers arriving at Toronto-Pearson International Airport can now be directed to different lines at customs based on their vaccination status.

Canada's largest airport said Saturday it may divide passengers arriving from the U.S. or other international destinations into lines for those who are vaccinated and those who are partially or not vaccinated.

"This is a measure to streamline the clearance process, as there are different entry requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated/partially vaccinated travelers, which have been communicated extensively by the Government of Canada," said Greater Toronto Airports Authority spokesperson Beverly MacDonald.

Vancouver International Airport has a similar policy in place.

Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport did not respond to a Canadian Press request for information at the time of publication.

As of Aug. 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will also be allowed to enter Canada.

Those from the rest of the world will be able to do the same as of Sept. 7.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 25, 2021.

-- With reporting from Allison Jones in Toronto. 

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