Travel industry disappointed as Ottawa forges on with COVID-19 testing requirements


Canada's travel industry is reacting with disappointment after hopes for a last-minute extension to new COVID-19 testing requirements for international travellers were dashed by Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
On New Year's Eve, Ottawa announced that travellers flying to Canada as of Jan. 7 would have to provide proof of negative COVID-19 test result in order to board their flight.
The industry asked for an eleven day delay in implementation to Jan. 18 but Garneau said Wednesday the restrictions had to start as of midnight Wednesday because that's when Canada's ban on flights from the United Kingdom would expire.
Ottawa travel agent Nancy Wilson, a founding member of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors, says she's disappointed the implementation wasn't delayed.
She says the update by Garneau failed to address key concerns the industry has about what advice to give clients who are in the midst of travelling or considering travelling and could leave agents liable if clients' travel schedules are disrupted.
The airline industry asked Ottawa for a delay in implementing the new rules in a letter dated Monday and signed by Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat and Sunwing, along with the International Air Transportation Association and National Airlines Council of Canada.