Preparations are well underway at Toronto Pearson for the traditionally busy March Break travel season. The busiest day of the period is expected to be on March 11, when approximately 85,000 passengers will arrive or depart at Pearson. This will mark the busiest travel day at the airport since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago. Pearson wants passengers who are travelling for March Break to know what they can do to make their airport experience as smooth as possible as many may be travelling for the first time in two years or more.
While selected travel restrictions have been eased, existing government health measures will make for a travel experience that differs greatly from pre-pandemic times. For the March Break period, delays are possible and longer wait times are to be expected due to many COVID-19 health measures still in place. Pearson is working closely with airlines and government agencies to find every efficiency possible, but passengers should be aware that coming out of the pandemic, all companies and government agencies operating at the airport sometimes face staffing challenges similar to those in other service sectors. Pearson asks that passengers “pack their patience” and be kind to the workers who are committed to a safe, secure and healthy experience for every traveller. The entire airport community is working together to ensure that passenger and employee health and safety remain our shared top priority.
As travel is different than prior to the pandemic, passengers should give themselves even more time when arriving for their flight. In addition to process changes, passengers may experience longer wait times during check-in, security and boarding their aircraft as there are still additional screening questions and health checks in place at Canada’s airports. Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes in advance of domestic flights and at least three hours in advance of international flights. While at Pearson, passengers can choose from the airport’s wide variety of food and beverage options, including sit-down restaurants and take-out offerings. Travellers can also order ahead of time for pick up with Uber Eats to skip the line, available in select restaurants.
Due to government measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, passengers arriving from international destinations will experience additional screening and health checks, which may result in delays. Passengers should be prepared for an arrivals process that may take significantly longer than it did pre-pandemic depending on their specific set of circumstances. When going through customs, passengers will be required to answer additional health questions. In order to expedite their arrivals experience, international passengers are encouraged to use the Advanced CBSA Declaration feature within ArriveCAN online to fill in their customs and immigration declaration up to 72 hours in advance of flying in to Canada. Finally, all fully vaccinated travellers eligible to enter Canada must provide a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 antigen test result taken no more than one day before their flight’s scheduled departure or a molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours before their flight’s scheduled departure.
Advice for travellers
- As of February 28, 2022 the Government of Canada has eased border restrictions. To learn more about the current measures in place, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2022/02/government-of-canada-lightens-border-measures-as-part-of-transition-of-the-pandemic-response.html.
- Access to the terminals is limited to airport employees and to passengers with a boarding pass, or to those whose itinerary involves same-day travel. While in terminal, all passengers and airport employees must wear masks at all times, with limited exceptions. Pearson’s approach to keeping travellers safe and healthy continues to evolve with the pandemic, and for the second year in a row, Pearson has received Airports Council International’s Global Health Accreditation for its Healthy Airport program. To learn more, visit https://www.torontopearson.com/en/ready-to-travel/measures-in-place-and-travel-requirements.
- For a comprehensive guide to get you prepared for travelling, visit our Travel Hub at https://www.torontopearson.com/en/ready-to-travel.
- Through the new Advance CBSA Declaration, international travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson can now use ArriveCAN online to prepare their customs and immigration declaration before arriving in Canada. Travellers to Canada must continue to use ArriveCAN for the mandatory submission of their travel and contact information, quarantine plan, pre-entry test results, proof of vaccination (if applicable) and COVID-19 symptom self-assessments.
- COVID-19 testing services are available at Pearson. The tests, conducted by Switch Health, are available to both departing passengers and members of the community who aren’t travelling but need access to testing services. Tests can be booked in advance via Switch Health’s booking portal by visiting switchhealth.ca/healthyairport.
- Passengers headed to the terminals for March Break are encouraged to learn more about in-terminal activities to keep themselves—and their kids—entertained. Visit www.torontopearson.com for more information.
SOURCE Greater Toronto Airports Authority