Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a coronavirus testing program that will soon be in place at Calgary International Airport should be implemented in Toronto if the pilot project is successful.
The program, which begin on Nov. 2, will see willing and eligible international travellers get tested upon arrival and proceed to quarantine. They will then be able to leave quarantine — with some restrictions — should they test negative, provided they get a second test six or seven days later.
Testing will also be offered at the Coutts, Alta., land border crossing.
Canada currently requires people arriving from other countries to quarantine for 14 days.
“I always like looking around the world and taking the best ideas from everywhere, no matter if it’s in Alberta or other regions in the world, and we have to learn what works and what doesn’t work,” Premier Ford said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“What I do like out in Alberta, and I talked to the deputy prime minister on Sunday about this, is Calgary airport.”
Ford said if the pilot project is successful, international travellers coming to Toronto should have the option of reducing their quarantine time if they are willing to get tested.
Ford first commented on the Alberta pilot project after it was announced on Thursday, saying he would be open to it. Ford did cite some potential problems, however.
“Toronto is much different than Calgary,” he said.
“Calgary doesn’t get the volume, number one, but doesn’t get the diversification around the world. Everyone lands in Toronto.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the pilot project will help develop travel policies amid the pandemic.
“The results will help shape future provincial and federal policy and ultimately, they’ll help to find a new approach for international travel,” he said.
“One that limits the spread of COVID-19, while relying much less on prolonged and very inconvenient quarantine measures.”
Earlier this year, as COVID-19 restrictions first began to be implemented across Canada, the federal government announced that most international flights would only be allowed to arrive at four international airports: in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Entry into the country remains restricted for non-citizens and those who aren’t permanent residents.
— With files from Kirby Bourne
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