travel restrictions ontario

Here are all the new travel restrictions coming into effect for Ontario

Anyone arriving at Toronto's Pearson Airport from an international destination will have to take a mandatory COVID-19 test starting at noon today, and a number of other travel restrictions are also on the way for Canadians in the coming weeks.

Premier Doug Ford announced the new restriction last Friday as part of an action plan intended to prevent more dangerous variants of the virus from entering Ontario after at least 51 cases of the more transmissible U.K. variant were identified within the province.

"People across the province are staying home and helping to limit the spread of this deadly virus, and their actions are starting to make a difference," said Health Minister Christine Elliott in a statement.

"However, the U.K. variant is now making its way into our communities and putting Ontario's pandemic response at risk. In addition to maintaining the public health measures we know work and keep us safe, our government is taking decisive action to control the spread, protect our health care system, and save lives."

On the same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a list of new travel restrictions for all of Canada — some of which have already taken effect. 

Trudeau told reporters Friday afternoon that his government and Canada's main airlines — Air Canada, Westjet, Sunwing, Air Transat — would be suspending flight service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico starting on Jan. 31 until at least April 30. 

The prime minister also announced that starting this week, all international passenger flights must only land at airports in one of four major Canadian cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. 

Additionally, Trudeau announced that mandatory airport PCR testing for all people returning to Canada will be coming into effect in the coming weeks, as well as a three-day hotel quarantine while travellers wait for test results that will have to be paid out of pocket and could cost roughly $2,000.

But while Trudeau did announce that mandatory testing at all Canadian airports accepting international travellers would be in place sometime in the coming weeks, Ford said Ontario would be implementing its own mandatory testing policy to protect against new variants in the meantime. 

"We welcome the new measures announced by the federal government today, but we need a stop gap to prevent new cases, including variant cases, from arriving in Ontario until those measures are fully in place," said Premier Ford in a statement.

"That's why our government is taking immediate and decisive action, which includes mandatory testing of incoming international travellers and providing additional layers of protection for the people of Ontario, especially our seniors. Through our six-point plan, we intend to stop this virus in its tracks."

Ontario's new testing order is currently only in effect at Pearson Airport, but it will eventually apply to the province's land border crossings to the U.S. as well. 

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