Traveller returning to Canada fuming after being selected for random COVID-19 testing

15 Dec, 2021


Shaun Parent was tested twice for COVID-19 before re-entering Canada, but was selected for mandatory random testing anyway. He wonders why he didn't have to quarantine

Superior Exploration, Adventure & Climbing Co. Ltd owner and operator Shaun Parent was returning to Batchawana Bay from a recent 10-day trip visiting friends in Peru when he was randomly selected to undergo a COVID-19 test at Toronto Pearson International Airport. 

Parent - who had already completed a COVID-19 molecular test Dec. 8 and an additional COVID-19 test at the airport in Lima, Peru prior to flying to the United States en route to Canada -  wasn’t exactly impressed with being randomly selected for testing. 

After completing the COVID-19 test upon re-entry into Canada Dec. 10, Parent was informed that he would receive the results Dec. 13. 

“So, you’re telling me that I could be a carrier of Omicron right now, and it’s Friday night. I’m arriving in Toronto, and I can go to the mall. I can go around until Monday afternoon and spread Omicron or spread COVID?” he said, recalling his interaction with a customs official. 

According to Parent, the customs official replied, ‘yeah, what are we supposed to do?’ 

“I said, ‘is that your professional answer?’ He says, ‘what do you mean?’ I said, ‘people are coming into Canada, you know they don’t have COVID, but you’re letting other people through and you have no clue - and they’ve been to Africa?’”

Parent also claims the customs official told him that his COVID test results could have been falsified, which only added to his growing frustration.  

“Just discouraging to come back to Canada and be told, ‘oh those forms are false’ by immigration. Okay, I paid money to have a molecular test falsified so I can get back in my country. What a bunch of crap,” he said. 

According to a federal government website, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in Canada may be selected for ‘mandatory random testing.’ 

“You may be tested on site or receive a self-swab kit,” reads an excerpt from the government website. “You must follow the directions you receive upon arrival to complete your arrival test. If you receive a self-swab kit, you must complete and submit your specimen collection for processing within 24 hours of entering Canada.”

The federal government awarded three companies with contracts worth up to $631 million for COVID-19 border testing and other screening services amid concerns about the Omicron variant during the holiday travel period.

Public Services and Procurement Canada recently told The Canadian Press that Switch Health, LifeLabs and Dynacare are currently testing international travellers entering Canada at airports and land border crossings.

Parent believes the system the federal government has in place to detect COVID-19 in people entering Canada is deeply flawed 

“I don’t get my results for four days, and I don’t have to quarantine? Nope. So there you go, that’s why we have COVID in Canada,” he said.

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