If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he’s tired of waiting for the federal government to implement COVID-19 testing on arriving passengers at Pearson Airport, and says he’s prepared to go it alone with bringing testing to Canada’s largest airport, with or without the federal government’s help.
“We will be doing tests at Pearson,” said Ford today at his daily briefing, where he also announced expanded lockdown measures for all of Ontario, starting Dec. 26. “We’re not putting people at risk here in Ontario anymore. The prime minister uses the metaphor of a hole in the roof. Well, at Pearson, there is no roof. It’s coming pouring in. And let’s hope they quarantine for 14 days.”
He added: “I’m not waiting for the federal government. I’ll be waiting forever. I’m frustrated. This is a no-brainer. Our borders are like a sieve, like a spaghetti drainer right now. We have to tighten up our borders.”
In recent months Ford has expressed interest about the pilot program for COVID-19 testing at Calgary Airport, which allows inbound travellers to reduce their 14-day quarantine with YYC’s two-test process.
Ford said he’s asked the federal government numerous times for support on COVID-19 testing for inbound international travellers at Pearson, “but we’re getting the door shut in our face. It’s unacceptable.”
Ford was asked about testing at Pearson in light of today’s news about the variant strain of COVID-19 in the UK, and Canada’s 72-hour restriction on flights from the UK in an effort to keep it out of Canada.
He says Ontario’s proposal to the federal government includes a first test, then quarantine for 7 days while waiting for test results, then a second test.
“They keep dragging the ball,” he said. “I can’t figure it out. Let’s get the testing at the airport and stop the leak.”
Ford also confirmed that Ontario has ‘COVID hotels’ ready for passengers who need a place to quarantine.
“I implore the federal government to take action at the borders,” he said.
Ford added: “I’m not waiting for the federal government anymore. We will be doing testing at [Pearson] airport, as sure as I’m talking to you.”
Added Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott: “We have asked the federal government for assistance. If we have to do it, we will be doing it alone.”