Temperature Screening for Air Travel

Backgrounder

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis that is having a significant impact on all aspects of the Canadian transportation industry, travellers, and the economy. For air travel, the Government of Canada is implementing a multi-layered framework of measures to protect Canadians, and help prevent air travel from being a source for the spread of the virus.

Measures already in place include mandated face coverings for air travellers and transportation workers; health checks for those who need to travel; health guidance for the air industry; and temporary changes to help maintain physical distancing on aircrafts.

The Government of Canada will now require temperature screenings for all passengers flying in or to Canada. Passengers departing Canadian airports for either international or domestic destinations will also be subject to a temperature screening. This new screening measure will be in addition to the existing health screening and face covering measures already in place.

Temperature screening will be introduced through a phased approach. The first three phases are aimed at arriving international travellers, and departures from Canadian airports which serve the vast majority of air travellers in Canada. After the initial phases, the requirements for temperature screening at the remaining Canadian airports will be assessed.

Phases

  • Phase 1: By July 9, 2020, all air operators will be required to conduct temperature screenings of all passengers travelling to Canada prior to departure from international or transborder points of departure.
  • Phase 2: By the end of July, temperature screening stations will be placed in the departure section of the four major airports that are currently identified as the only Canadian airports for international travel (Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver).
  • Phase 3: By September 2020, temperature screening stations will be in place in the departure sections of the next 11 busiest airports in Canada (St. John’s, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, Victoria).

Mandatory temperature screening adds another layer of protection for the travelling public and air industry workers.

Flights originating outside of Canada

For international flights to Canada, air operators will be conducting the temperature screening at the point of departure.

If a traveller is identified with an elevated temperature and is unable to present a medical certificate that provides a non-COVID-19 reason for the elevated temperature, they will be denied boarding and will be given direction on how to re-book with the air operator in 14 days, as well as how they can seek additional health information.

Flights originating within Canada

Within Canada, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority screeners will conduct the temperature screening of passengers as part of departure screening procedures. Temperature screening will take place at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority screening points, before travellers are allowed into the restricted area of the air terminal building.

If a traveller is identified with an elevated temperature and is unable to present a medical certificate that provides a rationale for the elevated temperature, they will be sent to a dedicated location that respects physical distancing guidelines for a ten-minute rest period, followed by a second temperature reading.

Should the second reading confirm an elevated temperature, and unless the passenger has a medical certificate explaining a medical or physical condition for that elevated temperature, the passenger will be denied entry into the critical restricted area and receive guidance on the requirement to re-book with their air operator after 14 days, as well as how they can seek additional health information.

Temperature Screening of Airport and Airline Employees

In order to maintain the integrity of the air travel corridor, all employees and personnel that enter or work in the restricted area of the airport and screened through a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority point will be subject to temperature screening procedures by Canadian Air Transport Security Authority personnel.

If a transportation worker has an elevated temperature, with no supported medical justification, they will be sent to a dedicated location that respects physical distancing guidelines for a ten-minute rest period, followed by a second temperature reading.

Should the second reading confirm an elevated temperature, the employee will be denied entry into the critical restricted area and referred to their respective airport authority for follow up.

Equipment

Temperature screening can be conducted with a variety of technologies, from traditional thermometers, to digital infrared thermometers, to sophisticated thermal camera-based systems that can automatically screen large numbers of travellers in queues.

For primary screening, procurement will be focused on touchless technology options that facilitate mass screening and will also manage any privacy concerns. This will align with the broader strategy for COVID-safe contactless processing of passengers through the air travel experience.

The implementation of measures would not prescribe a single type of equipment to use. Instead, an approved list of technologies will be developed specifying a minimum threshold for accuracy, with advice from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Acquisition of equipment will be conducted by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, and the approved list will allow for maximum operational flexibility to choose technologies suited to operational realities at different locations, as well as ensure the best value for Canadians.


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