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Government records reveal dozens of flights with passengers with confirmed COVID-19 infections, with Toronto becomes a “central hub” for the spread of the virus to the rest of Canada via domestic flights.
It is not known when this program could be extended to Toronto.
When requested by theSoleil, a spokesperson for Health Canada said the initiative is a “pilot project that will engage both levels of government as well as industry and research partners, and help inform decisions on new measures for travel. international.
In September, Barret Armann – president of Unifor Local 7378 representing Sunwing pilots – reported a frustrating and unsuccessful meeting with senior government officials, urging them to implement arrival tests at Canadian airports .
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu last month rejected the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval of rapid antigen testing in August, calling it a “false sense of security,” and Thursday in the House Commons Parliamentary Secretary to Transport Minister Chris Bittle said rapid testing “is not a magic bullet”.
Hajdu’s stance appears to have made a 180 after Health Canada earlier this month suddenly gave the green light for three rapid on-site, lab-less COVID-19 tests to be sold in Canada.
Canada has announced that it will buy more than 16 million rapid tests, 100,000 of which arrived in Canada on Wednesday, but it is uncertain where they will be distributed.
Armann welcomed the move, saying he and Sunwing had been urging the government to act for months.
“Local 7378 has pushed for the industry to survive and our pilots to get back to work,” he said.
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume