Temperature Screening for Air Travel

Backgrounder

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis that is having a significant impact on the air industry and Canadian travellers. For air travel, the Government of Canada continues to implement 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 now requires temperature screenings for all passengers flying within or to Canada. Passengers departing 15 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.

Temperature screening has been implemented through a phased approach. After the initial phases, the requirements for temperature screening at the remaining Canadian airports will be assessed.

Phases

  • Phase 1: As of July 9, 2020, air operators began conducting temperature screenings of all passengers travelling to Canada prior to departure from international or transborder points of departure.

  • Phase 2: As of July 30, 2020, temperature screening was put in place at the four busiest Canadian airports (Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver).

  •  Phase 3: As of September 23, 2020, temperature screening was extended to an additional 11 Canadian airports (St. John’s, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Toronto – Billy Bishop, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Kelowna, and 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 are conducting the temperature screening at the point of departure.

Flights originating within Canada

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

Travellers with elevated temperature

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 that are screened through a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority point are 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, which include traditional thermometers, digital infrared thermometers, and sophisticated thermal camera-based systems that can automatically screen large numbers of travellers in queues.

For primary screening, efforts have been made to use touchless technology options that facilitate mass screening and also manage any privacy concerns. This aligns with the broader strategy for contactless processing of passengers through the air travel experience.

The measures do not prescribe a single type of equipment to use. Instead, a Temperature Screening Standard defines the technical standards and processes for the use of temperature screening equipment. The standard allows operators to be flexible when choosing technologies that work best for requirements at different locations, as well as ensuring the best value for Canadians.

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