COVID-19: Appearance before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health ()—Briefing subjects

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Traveller processing map

General process at primary inspection line
Text alternative: General process at primary inspection line

Process map

First, the traveller arrives at the airport. Then, the traveller is processed by a CBSA officer.

If the traveller answers "No" to the question "Have you been in the province of Hubei, China in the past 14 days?" the traveller is not referred for further questioning/screening and may proceed with travel plans.

If the traveller answers "Yes" to the question "Have you been in the province of Hubei, China in the past 14 days?" the traveller is referred for further questioning/screening at a secondary or a designated area.

There, the traveller is asked the question "Do you feel sick or unwell?" If the traveller answers "No," the gives them a handout on 2019-nCoV symptoms with instructions on monitoring their health for symptoms of concern for the next 14 days, and to call a health care professional if they become ill.

The traveller may proceed with travel plans.

If the traveller answers "Yes" to the question "Do you feel sick or unwell?" the BSO refers the traveller to a PHAC Quarantine Officer.

End of process map

Additional instructions on required personal protective equipment (PPE)

At any point, if an ill traveller is encountered the traveller is to be provided a mask.

In cases where there is prolonged interaction with an ill traveller (example: escorting the traveller or interacting with them), PPE required includes:

If interaction between travellers and roving officer and/or BSO is limited to passing of documents/ conversation (example: at point or podium), gloves are the only PPE required.

Any interaction between travellers and BSO at secondary (example: passing of documents, conversation and an examination of the traveller and potentially their goods), PPE required includes:

Note: The health referral to a quarantine officer takes precedence over immigration, customs or food, plant and animal processing. It is only once the traveller is cleared by the quarantine officer, the traveller would be processed for immigration, customs or food, plant and animal concerns in accordance with existing procedures.

General process at kiosk
Text alternative: General process at kiosk

Process map

First, the traveller arrives at the airport. Then, the traveller completes a declaration at a kiosk.

If the traveller answers "No" to the question "Have you been in the province of Hubei, China in the past 14 days?" the traveller is not referred for further questioning/screening and may proceed with travel plans.

If the traveller answers "Yes" to the question "Have you been in the province of Hubei, China in the past 14 days?" the traveller must interact with a border services officer (BSO) at a secondary or a designated area.

There, the traveller is asked the question "Do you feel sick or unwell?" If the traveller answers "No," the BSO gives them a handout on 2019-nCoV symptoms with instructions on monitoring their health for symptoms of concern for the next 14 days, and to call a health care professional if they become ill.

The traveller may proceed with travel plans.

If the traveller answers "Yes" to the question "Do you feel sick or unwell?" the BSO refers the traveller to a PHAC Quarantine Officer.

End of process map

Additional instructions on required personal protective equipment (PPE)

At any point, if an ill traveller is encountered the traveller is to be provided a mask.

In cases where there is prolonged interaction with an ill traveller (example: escorting the traveller or interacting with them), PPE required includes:

If interaction between travellers and roving officer and/or BSO is limited to passing of documents/ conversation (example: at point or podium), gloves are the only PPE required.

Any interaction between travellers and BSO at secondary (example: passing of documents, conversation and an examination of the traveller and potentially their goods), PPE required includes:

Note: The health referral to a quarantine officer takes precedence over immigration, customs or food, plant and animal processing. It is only once the traveller is cleared by the quarantine officer, the traveller would be processed for immigration, customs or food, plant and animal concerns in accordance with existing procedures.

Novel coronavirus: Border statistics

Novel coronavirus enhanced screening report from to

Passengers arriving direct from China mainland
Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 28 Jan 29 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 1 Feb 2 Total
4,128 3,628 3,356 2,647 3,103 2,645 3,128 3,083 3,342 2,405 1,702 2,435 35,602
Daily average of passengers arriving direct form China: 2,966
Travellers who responded "Yes" to the screening question and were referred for further screening by a CBSA officer
Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 28 Jan 29 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 1 Feb 2 Total
61 110 96 49 63 35 37 57 69 74 68 72 791
Travellers who were referred to PHAC staff by the CBSA
Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 28 Jan 29 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 1 Feb 2 Total
7 0 0 0 0 2 5 1 1 0 0 2 18
Travellers who were referred by PHAC for a medical examination
Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 28 Jan 29 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 1 Feb 2 Total
1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Summary: Reporting period— to
(all air ports of entry with enhanced screening measures)
Number of Travellers who responded "Yes" to the 2019-nCoV screening question 791
Number of Travellers who responded "Yes" to the 2019-nCoV screening question in error 37
Travellers refereed to PHAC staff for additional screening 18
Number of travellers PHAC referred for medical exam 3
Summary: Reporting period— to
(Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver)
Number of Travellers who responded "Yes" to the 2019-nCoV screening question 754
Number of Travellers who responded "Yes" to the 2019-nCoV screening question in error 37
Travellers refereed to PHAC staff for additional screening 18
Number of travellers PHAC referred for medical exam 3
Summary: Reporting period— to
(Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City and Halifax)
Number of Travellers who responded "Yes" to the 2019-nCoV screening question 37
Number of Travellers who responded "Yes" to the 2019-nCoV screening question in error 0
Travellers refereed to PHAC staff for additional screening 0
Number of travellers PHAC referred for medical exam 0

Current operational posture

Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City and Halifax Stanfield: Esclation level 2 – Enhanced screening

All other ports of entry: Esclation level 1 – No change to border measures

Key stats: to

  • 35,602 travellers directly from China mainland
  • 2,966 daily average of travellers directly form China mainland
Total passengers arriving direct from China mainland from to
  Jan 22 Jan 23 Jan 24 Jan 25 Jan 26 Jan 27 Jan 28 Jan 29 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 01 Feb 02
Montréal-Trudeau International Airport 574 546 284 281 0 256 519 253 558 275 0 242
Vancouver International Airport 1,921 1,843 1,553 1,468 1,994 1,318 1,526 1,514 1,707 1,322 1,232 1,398
Toronto Pearson International Airport 1,633 1,239 1,519 898 1,109 1,071 1,083 1,316 1,077 808 470 795
Total 4,128 3,628 3,356 2,647 3,103 2,645 3,128 3,083 3,342 2,405 1,702 2,435
Original scheduled flights to Canada from China mainland vs. updated scheduled flights to Canada from China mainland for
to
  Original
scheduled
Updated
scheduled
Change number and
percent (%)
Airport of entry Seats Flights Seats Flights Seats Flights
Vancouver International Airport 14,407 53 10,235 39 -4,172 (-29%) -14 (-26.4%)
Toronto Pearson International Airport 9,375 31 5,203 17 -4,172 (-44%) -14 (-45.2%)
Montréal-Trudeau International Airport 3,253 11 1,465 5 -1,788 (-55%) -6 (-54.5%)
Total 27,035 95 16,903 61 -10,132 (-37.5%) -34 (-35.8%)

Total passengers arriving direct from China mainland (all air ports of entry) from to

  • : 3,692
  • : 3,442
  • : 3,990
  • : 3,767
  • : 4,223
  • : 3,219
  • : 3,966
  • : 3,851
  • : 3,451
  • : 3,979
  • : 3,628
  • : 4,082
  • : 3,181
  • : 3,635
  • : 3,808
  • : 3,600
  • : 4,186
  • : 3,475
  • : 4,314
  • : 3,409
  • : 3,556
  • : 4,128
  • : 3,628
  • : 3,356
  • : 2,647
  • : 3,103
  • : 2,645
  • : 3,128
  • : 3,083
  • : 3,342
  • : 2,405
  • : 1,702
  • : 2,435

Passengers from Hubei arriving indirectly in Canada on a single trip from January 1 to February 2

  • : 49
  • : 43
  • : 68
  • : 43
  • : 115
  • : 36
  • : 96
  • : 57
  • : 41
  • : 58
  • : 50
  • : 77
  • : 32
  • : 57
  • : 48
  • : 31
  • : 55
  • : 51
  • : 81
  • : 32
  • : 39
  • : 63
  • : 30
  • : 17
  • : 8
  • : 14
  • : 2
  • : 2
  • : 6
  • : 3
  • : 0
  • : 0
  • : 2

Traveller obligation / Isolation

The Quarantine Act requires travellers to report to a CBSA border services officer if they are ill upon arrival.

Every traveller entering Canada has a key role to play by properly declaring to the CBSA, and helping us obtain the information needed to help prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases into Canada.

If a traveller is seriously and visibly ill and in need of immediate medical attention, Emergency Medical Services would be contacted.

CBSA officers make decisions based on the information available to them at the time a traveller seeks entry into Canada.

Travellers who respond "Yes" to the screening question are referred for further screening and questioning.

Traveller information for those showing no symptoms are not recorded. Travellers that are visibly ill, feeling ill and having visited the province of Hubei are referred to PHAC.

If a traveller does not appear ill, or denies they have any symptoms or potential illness, in accordance with protocol they are provided a handout instructing them what to do if they feel ill over the next 14 days and was allowed entry into Canada.

If a traveller feels or looks sick or unwell, they are referred to PHAC staff, which may include a quarantine officer, who will either be on-site or available by phone.

Measures are in place to isolate the traveller to minimize a potentially ill traveller from comingling with other travellers.

The CBSA continues to work with PHAC to its operational plans and the actions being taken at the border.

All enhanced screening policies and processes in place have been followed attentively by all CBSA officers to date.

Enhanced border measures

At this time, the CBSA has implemented 2 enhanced border measures: targeted signage and enhanced screening measure.

International travellers arriving at the Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Quebec City, Billy Bishop (Toronto), Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Halifax international airports will be asked an additional health screening question to help identify travellers who may have visited the Hubei province in China.

Travellers who have visited the Hubei province will be subject to additional screening to help prevent the possible spread of this infectious disease into Canada. Travellers experiencing flu-like symptoms will be referred to PHAC staff who will either be on-site or available by phone. All others will be provided a handout and will be allowed to continue with their planned travel.

Signage is posted in CBSA arrival halls at Vancouver, Toronto Pearson, Montreal, Quebec City, Billy Bishop (Toronto), Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Halifax airports to raise traveller awareness and reminding international travellers to inform a border services officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms. The signage is posted in English, French and Simplified Chinese.

As of , 791 travellers have responded "Yes" to the health screening question and 18 were referred to PHAC staff for further screening. Of those referred to PHAC, only 3 were referred for further medical examination.

To be clear, there are no direct flights from the province of Hubei in China and enhanced border measures are only in place at Vancouver, Toronto Pearson and Montreal airports based on the level of potential risk. Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto Pearson were targeted due to the high likelihood that travellers on connecting flights from the Hubei province will be arriving in Canada at one of these 3 airports.

Responsive measures being taken

The Agency is also examining options to identify travellers potentially exposed to the coronavirus on airplanes.

One option is to work more closely with the provinces to obtain details on symptomatic travellers and those passengers who may have been potentially exposed.

Another option is to issue a form to all international passengers to provide their contact information on the plane before arrival in Canada.

Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible spread of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy.

Our officers stand ready, equipped with the tools they need to assist the Government in its whole of Government response to this public health crisis.

Airport authorities

We know that various airport authorities are also working diligently to increase the sanitization of common areas and frequently touched surfaces by travellers, such as electronic kiosks (such as the Primary Inspection Kiosks), handrails, etc.

Detailed information about what airport authorities are doing falls under the purview of Transport Canada and as such, I will defer to my colleagues to respond.

The CBSA is also using a specialized cleaning solution to sanitize frequently touched areas in the CBSA hall and the arrivals area, such as PHAC assessment rooms and countertops.

Potential language issues

On all primary inspection and NEXUS kiosks at Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto Pearson international airports, the health screening question is available in 15 different languages including Simplified Chinese.

Should a situation arise where a language barrier exists, the CBSA officer handling the situation will either engage with another officer who speaks the language in question, or contact an interpreter.

The CBSA will be exploring supplementing the interpreter services at the Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto international airports to help facilitate the screening of travellers where a language barrier may exist.

Operational preparedness: Capacity

The CBSA regularly reviews its operations to facilitate travel and trade, and makes adjustments where required.

The Agency's operational plans include the effective use of all of the resources available based on anticipated volumes, which includes ensuring staffing levels are reflective of service demand.

The CBSA routinely processes approximately over 37,000 travellers from China a week and is prepared to ensure operational plans to address surge capacity are in place where required. Last year CBSA processed just under 2 million travellers from China.

In 2019, just over 18,000 travelled from Wuhan and another 345 from other airports in the Hubei Province.

CBSA officers process thousands of travellers a day, and do so in a professional manner. While enhanced border measures are in place, the officers will continue to do just that.

Assisted departure of Canadians from China

The CBSA is part of the whole-of-government coordination effort to assist the return of those Canadians who entered China using a blue Canadian passport who are eligible to leave.

The CBSA team on the ground in Wuhan will be responsible of verifying travellers' identities and documents prior to departure.

Responsive lines

CBSA officers in the National Targeting Centre in Canada will review flight manifests.

Currently, a flight is being arranged to land at CFB Trenton, Ontario.

Upon flight arrival, health screening will take precedence, prior to CBSA examination and clearance.

CBSA is co-leading arrangements with PHAC and will prepare a segregated area for health screening on site.

CBSA officer health and safety

The health and safety of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and staff is of utmost importance to the Agency.

The Agency is working closely with Health Canada experts to confirm appropriate measures are in place, including the examination of standard operating procedures for dealing with travellers who may exhibit symptoms of illness.

Occupational health officials from Health Canada have been providing ongoing training since to CBSA officers at the airports where the enhanced border measures are in effect.

This training focuses on the coronavirus and on the proper use of personal protective equipment.

To be clear, CBSA officers are conducting the initial screening of the travellers and will refer those experiencing flu-like symptoms to a PHAC staff member for further evaluation.

As of , the Public Service Occupational Health Program at Health Canada has recommended that in addition to general precautions such as frequent hand hygiene, being up-to-date with all recommended adult vaccinations as per the Canadian Immunization Guide and those outlined for their occupational group as per Health Canada's Occupational Health Assessment Guide:

CBSA management is in constant communication with its officers and the union to inform them of developments and the required precautionary measures to take.

As the situation evolves, the CBSA will continue working closely with Health Canada experts to confirm appropriate measures are in place, including examination of standard operating procedures for dealing with travellers who may exhibit symptoms of illness.

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