Politics

International travelers face uncertainty as they depart Pearson

A new federal advisory warns some Canadians could end up stranded

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For anyone about to take an international trip, it is flyer beware.

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Prospective travelers are on notice due to a new federal travel advisory: They are taking a risk by travelling internationally in the context of Omicron taking hold around the world.

“Our government is officially advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada,” federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said on Wednesday. “To those who were planning to travel, I say very clearly, now is not the time to travel.”

The advisory comes at a time when travel would normally be close to a peak for the holiday season.

But the federal government said the pandemic danger is just too great.

“Travelling Canadians could contract the virus or get stranded abroad,” Duclos said.

At Pearson airport, the risk of having holiday travel being severely disrupted is something many people checking in Wednesday were just accepting.

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“Everything is just complicated,” said Shawn Watson as he was set to board a flight bound for Jamaica and a three-week family visit.

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“I don’t worry about quarantine. Whatever the rules are, I will work by the rules because I find it easier for me mentally.”

Yohann Cochet booked his flights to Paris and Brussels three weeks ago and plans to return to Canada on Jan. 3.

“Hopefully everything goes fine,” said Cochet, who is anxiously taking precautions as he travels to visit family in France and Belgium.

Prospective travelers are on notice due to a new federal travel advisory: They are taking a risk by travelling internationally in the context of Omicron taking hold around the world. VERONICA HENRI/TORONTO SUN
Prospective travelers are on notice due to a new federal travel advisory: They are taking a risk by travelling internationally in the context of Omicron taking hold around the world. VERONICA HENRI/TORONTO SUN

“Even for me, if I get it and it is mild, I will lose a plane ticket so it’s a lot of money because I will be stranded for 14 days.”

Not only is he worried about testing requirements once he lands in France, but he is also nervous about his return.

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“I know that I will have to spend at least two or three days working from home because of the regulation,” Cochet said.

The new federal travel advisory will be in place for four weeks and then be re-evaluated.

“If you do not have to travel internationally, please do not,” said Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure, and Communities, Domenic Leblanc.

Ron and Elizabeth McEwan, arriving from the United States, said they are not worried about having travel plans unraveled by border changes and travel advisories.

“My Christmas vacation would be longer,” said Ron McEwan.

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