Canada slaps 2 with thousands in fines for faked COVID-19 pre-flight tests

Click to play video: 'What travellers need to know about pre-flight COVID-19 testing' What travellers need to know about pre-flight COVID-19 testing
Travel Consultant Claire Newell runs down what you need to know when it comes to the rules around pre-flight testing. – Jan 21, 2021
EDITOR’S NOTE: Transport Canada initially said the first passenger received a fine of $2,500 and the second passenger a fine of $6,500. On Thursday afternoon the department issued an update correcting that press release: it was the first passenger who got the fine of $6,500 and the second who got the fine for $2,500.

Thinking of faking your COVID-19 pre-flight test? Think again, warns Transport Canada.

Officials there said on Thursday they have fined two individuals thousands of dollars each for presenting fraudulent pre-departure COVID-19 test results before boarding flights to Canada.

One passenger received a fine of $6,500 for presenting an “altered COVID-19 test” and knowingly getting onto a flight from the Dominican Republic to Toronto on Feb. 8, 2021, after doing so. In a press release, officials said that passenger “also made a false declaration to the air carrier about their health status.”

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The second individual got a fine of $2,500 for presenting an altered test and then boarding a flight from the U.S. to Toronto on April 3, 2021.

READ MORE: Canadians avoiding COVID-19 restrictions for air travellers fuel taxi boom on U.S. border

Canadians have been told repeatedly by federal officials as well as politicians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that “now is not the time to travel,” and that no one should be doing any non-essential travel outside the country as COVID-19 continues to wallop Canadians.

Officials say 99 per cent of travellers are following the rules for pre-departure testing.

Still, a minority of travellers are choosing to endanger the lives of others by trying to skirt the rules.

READ MORE: 30 travellers entering Canada caught with suspected fake COVID-19 test results: CBSA

Those who chose to ignore the warnings and travel abroad must get a COVID-19 molecular test within 72 hours prior to boarding and present the negative results before getting on any flight back to Canada.

Not following the rules can net travellers a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation.

The Canada Border Services Agency said in March it had intercepted 30 people faking their COVID-19 test results to get into the country since January 2021.

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It’s not the first time Transport Canada has issued fines for travellers faking their test results.

In February, transport officials also fined a passenger on a flight from Germany to Canada $2,500 for making a false declaration about their health status, and for not respecting the mandatory quarantine in place for travellers coming into the country.

In January, a passenger flying from Mexico to Canada for a $1,000 fine for not providing a test done within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time, while two passengers on a separate flight from Mexico to Canada were fined $10,000 and $7,000 for providing faked COVID-19 test results.

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