Effective April 20, 2020
Transport Canada Announces Face Covering Requirement for all Air Travelers
Today, Transport Canada announced new regulations that all air travelers must confirm they have in their possession a non-medicinal mask or face covering when traveling through Canadian airports and in-flight. Passengers will be asked this question at check-in, otherwise they will not be allowed to continue on their journey.
Effective March 30, 2020
New Transport Canada Requirements to Prevent Certain Persons from Boarding Flights in Canada due to COVID-19
In order to manage the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada, along with the provinces and territories have put in place some new measures. Prior to boarding your flight you will be required to undergo a health check. This will involve answering a few simple questions to which you must answer truthfully. When arriving at your destination, you may be subject to further measures taken by the provincial or territorial government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As a reminder, no person should board a flight when they are feeling ill and could potentially put others at risk. Should symptoms such as a fever, cough or difficulty breathing develop while in flight, please notify the flight crew immediately.
Process for Health Check
- Detection of Ill Travellers
All air operators are required to observe and do a health check of all air travellers before they board the aircraft. The health check has been approved by the Public Health Agency of Canada and is based on guidance material published by the World Health Organization on February 16, 2020. The health check may be administered by an employee at the check-in counter asking the traveller the questions or via an electronic check-in kiosk. The visual observation for symptoms may be done by an employee at the check-in counter or boarding gate to look for signs that the person is unwell.
- Denial of boarding
In the event that the air operator observes that the air traveller has COVID-19 symptoms or that their response to any of the questions on the health check indicates a need to deny boarding, the air operator will be required to refuse to board the person for travel for a period of 14 days or until a medical certificate is presented that confirms that the symptoms that the person is exhibiting are not related to the COVID-19 virus.
- Provide explanation for future travel
Air operators will explain to air travellers who are denied boarding, based on the health check or observation, that they will need to wait 14 days before they are able to fly or that they will need to provide a medical certificate indicating that the symptoms that they are exhibiting are not related to the COVID-19 virus.
- Advise air travellers to follow local health authorities related to COVID-19
Air operators should advise air travellers who have been denied boarding to follow the guidance/direction from their provincial/territorial health authorities for dealing with the COVID-19 infection.
The Government of Canada is temporarily allowing, for domestic flights only, air carriers to accept government-issued identification that has expired after March 1, 2020. This temporary exemption is in effect until June 30, 2020.
These measures have now been implemented by WestJet and Air Canada at the Nanaimo Airport.
For more information, go to www.canada.ca/coronavirus
Public Health Recommendations
The following recommendations have been made by the Government of Canada Public Health Agency to reduce the spread of this disease.
Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- Respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze;
- Prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
- Touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread happens when there is close contact.
Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others. The following steps are recommended:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available when coughing or sneezing.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand.
- Dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
WEARING MASKS OR FACE COVERINGS
Medical masks, including surgical, medical procedure face masks and respirators (like N95 masks), must be kept for health care workers and others providing direct care to COVID-19 patients.
Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering while out in public is recommended for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings, such as:
- shopping areas
- public transportation
Public health officials will make recommendations based on a number of factors, including the rates of infection and/or transmission in the community. Recommendations may vary from location to location.
If you do choose to wear one, refer to guidelines on wearing non-medical masks and how to make your own.
Masks alone will not prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must consistently and strictly adhere to good hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical (social) distancing.
If you have upcoming air travel plans, be aware that air carrier schedules could be subject to change. We advise you to check with your air carrier prior to arriving at the airport to ensure that your flight schedule remains the same.
For your information, the Public Health Agency of Canada has produced this infographic, “About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)” . For additional information, please refer to Government of Canada’s website at Government of Canada Public Health Agency COVID-19. If you have any concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider or call HealthLink BC by phoning 811.