The issue of travel within the country has recently been a hot topic. There are many reports in the Canadian media about travellers being denied entry at the airports or even on certain types of transportation vehicles. There has been an increase in reported cases of travellers being separated from their families or held in custody due to un-announced detentions. While most countries have tightened their security in response to recent terrorist attacks within the region, Canada has not yet done so. The restrictions and inconveniences can seem to be taking their toll on the travelling public.
As a result of recent media attention, the Canadian Travel Health Clinic has issued a travel advisory. The advisory states that despite new security measures in place, travellers should still expect to encounter some disruption to their travel plans. Some airline services have implemented a complete stopover at all airports across the country, while others still allow travelers to board and leave as they please during the limited period of time they are shuttled in. Some companies have introduced temporary screening tents at various airports across the country to accommodate any arriving travellers who need additional screening. The Canadian Radio Station has also begun offering emergency information hotlines for customers free of charge.
Despite the measures being put in place to prevent travel disruptions, some passengers remain unsure about when they will be able to safely travel once their travel plans have been affected by this issue. The Canadian Radio Transportation Safety Board has released a travel advisory that indicates when a positive POCR test result is taken within 72 hours of departure. The test is done once passengers have undergone a security review at a Canadian airport. If the results are positive, the passenger will be allowed to proceed with their trip. However, should the test result be negative, then the passenger would be required to cancel their travel plans without valid explanation.
In Canada, it is required that all travellers provide proof of a negative POCR test taken no more than five days before departure. Some airlines have implemented this measure as a means of mitigating against illegal activity among visiting tourists. In other cases, some airports have resorted to prohibiting passengers from boarding or leaving on a plane if there is a negative POCR test result. The Canadian Radio Transportation Safety Board has reminded passengers of these rules in light of the recent increase in border-crossing attempts by people seeking entry into Canada illegally. Those who have received a positive POCR order are encouraged to immediately report to the airport authorities so that the situation can be handled appropriately. The CBSA reminds all visitors that if their adhesion to the law is not 100%, they face arrest and prosecution.
There is yet another option available to those who have recently arrived in Canada and are concerned about their immigration status. Many countries around the world offer visitors the opportunity to “prove their identity” upon arrival by requiring them to present proof of a negative POCR order. These countries include Mexico, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. The systems vary, but some of them are quite simple to implement and use.
Travellers need to know that their personal rights do not disappear just because they are crossing borders. Individuals staying illegally are not necessarily breaking any laws by travelling, but the violation can create a problem for Canadian authorities if the traveler does not have proof of a positive POCR order. It is best for travellers to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before deciding whether or not to apply for either a PPR or negative POCR travel alert. Doing so can help prevent any problems that could occur once the traveller arrives in Canada.