Canadian govt. drops COVID-19 testing for air travellers arriving from China, Hong Kong, Macao

New study finds majority of Canadians support COVID-19 testing for travellers from China

TORONTO — A new survey from Angus Reid Institute has found that the majority of Canadians support COVID-19 testing for travellers from China, but few actually believe the policy will help reduce infections in Canada.

In response to surging cases in China, which recently abandoned its COVID-19 zero strategy, Canada, alongside other countries, enforced a new COVID-19 testing requirement on Jan. 5, 2023 for travellers from China, prior to takeoff. 

According to data from Angus Reid, 77% of Canadians support the new policy, outnumbering those who are opposed (16%) by nearly five-to-one.

However, those who believe the policy will be effective at reducing COVID-19 infections in Canada (34%) are in the minority. More Canadians believe it will be ineffective (38%) or are unsure (28%). And even among those who support the policy, fewer than half (44%) say they believe it will be effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Nearly all (94%) of those who oppose the COVID-19 testing policy for travellers from China believe it won’t be effective at reducing the spread of the virus in Canada. 

The Chinese government have called the policy “discriminatory,” while others have gone further and called it “racist.” As a result of the pandemic, there has been a rise in discrimination and racism experienced by Canadians of Chinese descent, with some worrying this new testing policy will fuel further hatred.

One in eight (13%) Canadians call the policy racist, while 73% believe it’s not. Canadians who identify as visible minorities are twice as likely to label the policy racist (23%) than those who don’t identify as such (10%). 

In terms of how COVID-19 is still impacting outbound travel trends, one-in-five (19%) Canadians say they are not travelling at all because they are worried about the virus. A further 33% say they have approached their recent travel with caution, while two-in-five (41%) are less worried about the risk of COVID-19 while travelling.

Two-in-five (37%) of those who have not travelled at all outside of their province since March 2022 say they are not travelling because they worry about catching COVID-19.

To read the full survey’s full findings, click here.

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