Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19

 

Safe air travel is critically important to Canadians. In such a large and diverse country, Canadians count on it to provide essential services, to visit loved ones, to conduct business, to move cargo, and to explore and discover our nation. In particular, our remote and Northern communities rely heavily on air travel to receive critical supplies, including medical supplies, and to access health care and other essential services.

Transport Canada is responsible for the safety of Canada’s air transport system. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Transport Canada has worked closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada, provinces and territories, air operators, and airports to put in place a series of health and safety measures to protect travellers. These measures include: travel restrictions, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, physical distancing, mandatory health checks, the use of face coverings, and temperature checks.

In addition, Transport Canada has worked with its counterparts around the world to develop and identify new global safety standards and internationally accepted and implemented best practices. Building on these international safety standards, Transport Canada is working closely with public health authorities and aviation partners to introduce consistent health and safety measures to protect the travelling public during the transition back to ‘normal’ in the aviation industry. Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19 (Canada’s Flight Plan), is in line with the health and safety practices of states around the world, and is key to maintaining safety while restarting the aviation sector in Canada. This document is intended to serve as the foundation for aligning Canada’s current and future health and safety efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation industry.

Keeping air travellers safe

Canada has one of the safest air transportation systems in the world. The aviation sector in Canada is highly regulated, with oversight focused on keeping Canadians and visitors safe and secure. Transport Canada has, and continues to, work closely with federal departments, provincial and territorial governments, and international, domestic and industry partners to support the continued health and safety of passengers travelling by air, and to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. In keeping with the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and quarantine measures around the world, Transport Canada is committed to supporting the restart of the aviation network in a way that continues to support the health, safety, and security of all Canadians first and foremost.

Working together

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Transport Canada has consulted and collaborated closely with public health authorities, industry, and pilot and crew unions to guide ongoing health and safety efforts by the Government of Canada and aviation stakeholders. The Canadian aviation industry has also taken the initiative in changing corporate practices that go beyond minimum requirements such as updating cleaning, disinfection and crew layover protocols. The Government of Canada continues to work with all partners in order to develop a collaborative approach to health, safety and security both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working on a global level

On May 27, 2020, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) published a report and guidance called, “Take-off: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis” (CART Report). ICAO is a United Nations specialized agency, made up of 193 Member States as well as industry groups, which develops international civil aviation standards, recommended practices and policies to support a safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible global civil aviation sector. The CART Report provides a framework for addressing the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the global aviation transportation system. It also sets out mitigation measures that should be implemented to reduce the public health risk to air passengers and aviation workers around the world. By developing standard guidance at the international level, the CART Report ensures that aviation stakeholders are implementing consistent public health measures within the industry.

Canada’s Flight Plan is a collaborative action plan based on the comprehensive standards and recommendations from the ICAO CART Report. It takes stock of the existing measures introduced by the Government of Canada and those implemented by industry, and identifies what can still be done to build additional layers of resilience in our safety-focused air transportation system. As a leader in aviation safety, Transport Canada is ensuring that the measures implemented in Canada align with the highest international standards set by ICAO.

Measures taken to protect air travellers

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Government of Canada, public health authorities, and the Canadian aviation industry, including operators, airports and labour groups, worked collaboratively to implement measures that would reduce the spread of the virus and protect the travelling public through a multi-layered approach.

Some of the key measures the Government of Canada and the aviation industry have implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are highlighted here.

Airports have established new and enhanced facility practices to encourage physical distancing (whenever possible) such as installing plexiglass barriers at check-in and customer service counters, and clear signage and floor markings throughout the terminal.

New cleaning and disinfecting protocols in airports have been implemented across Canada and high-frequency touch surfaces, such as touch screens, are disinfected regularly. Some airports have also enhanced their air conditioning and filtration systems. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has adjusted their screening protocols to allow passengers to scan their own boarding pass when entering security and all screening officers wear gloves and masks.

All travellers must wear face coverings or non-medical masks, undergo health checks and are subject to a visual screening for symptoms of the virus before boarding a plane. Contactless temperature screening of passengers is also required at the busiest Canadian airports and at points of origin for all incoming flights to Canada prior to departure. All crew members and most airport staff are also required to wear face coverings, undergo temperature screening, and have been trained on how to identify and handle potentially sick passengers. The ventilation systems typically used on modern aircraft have rapid air exchange with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that capture viruses. These aircraft are designed to isolate airflow, with air coming downwards from the ceiling to the floor. Further, the spread of droplets between rows is reduced by the high seatbacks, the minimal movement by passengers during the flight, and that almost all passengers are seated in the same direction. Aircraft are also frequently sanitized and cleaned for both domestic and international flights.

Upon arrival in Canada, passengers arriving at certain airports are able to use the eDeclaration mobile app to fill out their customs declaration in advance of arrival. This will shorten the amount of time spent at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) primary inspection kiosk and reduce congestion by allowing travellers to flow through customs at a faster pace. Passengers can also download the ArriveCAN mobile app to submit personal contact and quarantine information in advance of their arrival. Doing so electronically will reduce wait times at Canadian ports of entry and limit points of contact in the customs area. Baggage carousels are being used strategically to reduce congestion and baggage carts are continuously being cleaned and disinfected.

These measures, and many more, are being implemented across the country to contain the spread of the virus. In combination, these measures contribute to significant protection from COVID-19 in the air transportation system. See Annex A for more information.

An illustration of some of these measures is represented in Graphic 1: The traveller’s journey – from here to there.

Building additional layers of resilience into the Canadian aviation system

The Canadian aviation industry is recognized globally for its strong and robust safety and security regulations and practices. Since the beginning of the pandemic, industry partners have been fundamentally rethinking the way air travel is operated. Looking beyond the measures that have already been implemented, the Government of Canada is working with public health authorities and the aviation industry to explore, develop and implement long-term solutions that will ensure the continued safety and resiliency of the Canadian aviation system beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. These solutions will align with ICAO CART Report recommendations, result in a more efficient and cost-effective Canadian aviation system, and help reduce the risk of travellers transmitting COVID-19 and other viruses through air travel.

Airports

In airports, contactless and automated processes to facilitate a low-touch/no-touch travel experience are being explored, including the potential deployment of self-scanning technologies. The Government of Canada is actively considering the suitability of various emerging technologies in this domain.

One initiative already underway is the Air Consultative Committee’s Smart Border Working Group Digital Travel Credential (DTC) pilot project. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the CBSA are working with partners to consider the use of the DTC for contactless check-in and boarding processes. In places where no-touch options are difficult to maintain, self-sanitization technology is being explored.

Moving forward, the Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with ICAO and other partners to promote technology solutions at airports that are harmonized globally and benefit travellers throughout their entire journey.

Aircraft

For measures related to aircraft, air operators must follow manufacturers’ guidance related to disinfection and filtration in order to provide a safe and sanitary operating environment for passengers and crew. Transport Canada and industry will adjust guidance and measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the department currently recommends that operators develop guidelines to optimize physical distancing and limit non-essential tasks including in-flight services. However, consultations with industry and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are ongoing to explore alternatives, as this may not be possible on all flights.

Air crew

For air crew, industry has taken steps to protect their crew members in flight and during layovers, including providing guidelines for health monitoring and layover accommodations. Industry measures also include having Universal Precaution Kits (UPK) on board and cleaning/disinfection procedures for many operators prior to COVID-19. UPKs provide crew protection for managing when there is a suspected case of a communicable disease on an aircraft. Transport Canada will work with operators to develop Standard Operating Procedures to align with ICAO CART Report recommendations to ensure the safety and security of crew and passengers.

Air cargo

Overall, the largest cargo operators across Canada are aligned with ICAO CART recommendations and are ready to adapt as the situation evolves. Going forward, the use of electronic data throughout the supply chain, including handover of shipment document packages such as electronic airway bills and electronic consignment security declarations, will be encouraged throughout the cargo industry.

Looking beyond the ICAO CART Report

Air transportation plays a vital role in supporting the country’s economy. Since the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada and the Canadian aviation industry have been proactive in identifying and addressing measures to ensure the continued health, safety, and security of air transport for essential travel. For example, Canada was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to require air passengers to wear face coverings.

The CART Report reinforced these early measures and provided a benchmark to align Canada’s efforts with our international counterparts and the gold standard in best practices for safety and public health during the pandemic and beyond.

Work on Canada’s Flight Plan highlighted areas that are beyond the scope of specific CART recommendations and that present unique challenges in the Canadian context. Factors such as domestic travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, international and transborder travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine for all travellers entering Canada, and contact-tracing processes, all have an impact on the sector’s operations. As we move towards a full return to air service, the Government of Canada is working with all partners to find solutions to these challenges that will result in a resilient Canadian aviation system for the future.

In regard to travel restrictions, public health is a shared jurisdiction within Canada. Domestically, provinces and territories are opening their borders and economies based on their respective public health situations. Consultations are necessary between public health officials and the air industry on domestic travel as jurisdictional situations evolve. The Government of Canada continues to work with provincial/territorial health authorities to explore opportunities for loosening domestic travel restrictions in a way that manages the spread of COVID-19 and puts the safety of Canadians first, and will continue to explore how best to begin welcoming international visitors with the same goal.

Internationally, each country is responsible for their own travel restrictions and quarantine measures based on their public health environment. Some regions around the world are exploring “health corridors” to enable international travel, whereby countries are beginning to ease restrictions and quarantine requirements for travellers from countries with an established public health environment similar to their own (like standards of testing and low number of cases). The Government of Canada continues to monitor the public health environment, as well as ICAO’s work on the concept of public health corridors as it relates to scheduled passenger service, and is engaging with industry, and other Government partners on issues of concern and next steps as appropriate.

The Government of Canada also acknowledges the importance of contact tracing in keeping Canadians safe no matter where they are or how they are travelling. With this in mind, the federal government is working with provinces and territories to build on existing efforts and explore the implementation of enhanced contact tracing processes in order to more effectively track COVID-19 cases throughout the air travel system.

As COVID-19-related research and technology solutions are developed and improved upon around the world, the Government of Canada will continue to monitor and explore options to implement additional measures that align with new and emerging best practices being piloted by other countries (e.g., rapid testing at airports). The Government of Canada will carefully consider any additional measures of this nature to ensure they are grounded in evidence and make sense in the Canadian context.

Transport Canada, working with public health authorities, continues to facilitate discussions and to support industry in managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Canada is committed to working together to support a healthy, safe, and efficient return to a steady state of the aviation sector in Canada. To stay up-to-date on Transport Canada’s aviation regulatory measures and guidance in response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, see the additional resources section.

Graphic 1: The traveller’s journey – from here to there

Air carriers, airport authorities and other aviation industry partners are working with the Government of Canada to support the safe movement of passengers by air during the COVID-19 pandemic. Transport Canada has provided extensive guidance on safety measures that should be implemented at all stages of a traveller’s journey to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. All travellers must do their part as well.

Canada’s Flight Plan for Navigating COVID-19
Graphic 1: The traveller’s journey – from here to there - Text version

Check-in

  • Passengers confirm that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Passengers notified that they must wear a face covering during most of their journey

At the airport

  • Airports display strong and visible messaging about public health guidelines
  • Travellers required to wear a face covering at security checkpoint
  • Most airport staff wear face coverings while on duty
  • Airport staff conduct enhanced disinfecting of high traffic areas and facilities

Departure

  • Boarding agents required to observe if passengers have COVID-related symptoms
  • Air carriers or CATSA required to refuse boarding to any passenger that has COVID-related symptoms or does not have a face covering
  • Boarding agents verify that all passengers boarding the plane are in possession of a face covering
  • Contactless temperature screening of passengers is also required at the busiest Canadian airports and at points of origin for all incoming flights to Canada prior to departure

In Flight

  • All passengers and most crew required to wear face coverings for the entire duration of the flight, with limited exceptions
  • If a passenger displays COVID-related symptoms in-flight, one designated crew member will isolate the passenger

Arrival

  • Prior to arriving from an international destination to Canada, passengers receive a Coronavirus form which must be completed by all passengers
    • ArriveCAN mobile app can be used as an alternative to the paper form (for international arrivals) to speed up the customs process and to limit points of contact
  • If a passenger demonstrates COVID-related symptoms in-flight, they will be segregated immediately upon deplaning
  • CBSA roving officers seek to identify possibly symptomatic travellers arriving on international flights

Post journey

  • After each journey, cleaning crews thoroughly disinfect all surfaces of the aircraft
  • Aircraft will be fully re-stocked with supplies including hand sanitizer, surface disinfectants, disposable gloves and garbage bags

More information and resources

For more information on the aviation measures Transport Canada is putting in place in response to COVID-19, visit: https://tc.canada.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-tc/aviation-measures#toc8

For more information on COVID-19 public health guidelines, travel restrictions and advisories, financial support, and updates visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

For more information on the International Civil Aviation Organization’s guidelines and updates related to COVID-19 visit: https://www.icao.int/safety/Pages/COVID-19-Airport-Status.aspx and https://www.icao.int/covid/cart/Pages/CART-Take-off.aspx

For updates and advice from the World Health Organization on COVID-19 visit: https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/updated-who-advice-for-international-traffic-in-relation-to-the-outbreak-of-the-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-24-jan

Passengers should take the Public Health Agency of Canada’s self-assessment test before travelling so they can access information and services in their local area. The self-assessment test can be found at: https://ca.thrive.health/covid19/en

Annex A – Measures we’ve implemented

Airport

Terminal buildings

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Cleaning and disinfection
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that airport operators perform extra cleaning and disinfection of high-traffic areas and facilities, to contain the spread of COVID-19, consistent with Government of Canada and international guidance.
  • Written plans for cleaning and disinfection.
  • Increased availability of hand sanitizer (at entrances, exits, baggage carousels and customs and screening areas).
  • New cleaning protocols (more cleaning at check-in and departure kiosks, in washrooms, lobbies, and break rooms, and on wheelchairs, gates, help desk, and other high touch surfaces).
  • Extra cleaning of electronic equipment: touch screens, phones, computers, and keyboards.
  • UV Light sanitation on escalator handrails.
Air conditioning and filtration
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Updated HVAC program in airports including HVAC systems fit with Merv-13 filters, increased fresh air circulation, and installation of portable Air Quality Monitoring units.
Physical distancing
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that workers and travellers practice physical distancing (maintain a distance of 2 metres from others) where possible.
  • (G) When physical distancing isn’t possible, the Government of Canada recommends that individuals wear a face covering.
  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flights and deplaning, and when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling. (Interim Order)
  • Announcements reminding of physical distancing.
  • Signage to remind customers to maintain physical distancing.
  • Floor markings to encourage physical distancing.
  • Seats blocked at seating areas throughout terminals to encourage distancing.
Staff protection
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that all airport staff who cannot maintain physical distancing in public areas wear face coverings.
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that employers monitor their staff for COVID-19 symptoms while on duty, by checking for cough, fever or shortness of breath.
  • (R) A person who presents themselves at a non-passenger screening checkpoint to enter into a restricted area must wear a face covering at all times. (Interim Order)
  • Face coverings are required for customer-facing employees.
  • Personal protective equipment has been made available for employees: like, gloves, masks, disposable gowns, safety glasses/face shields, hand sanitizer.
  • Plexiglass barriers installed at check-in, customs, retail and food/beverage locations.
  • Develop new procedures for contact-free handovers.
Airport terminal access
  • (R) Key requirements for passengers at screening checkpoint as well as non-passengers accessing the sterile area are in place independent of COVID-19 measures.
  • Restrict terminal access to passengers with boarding pass or same-day travel itinerary, with exceptions (like companion, persons with disabilities).
  • Access is centralized and controlled during certain periods of the day to reduce exposure to public space.

Check-in area

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Reducing congestion
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Additional spacing between check-in agents (like, every second check-in counter closed).
  • Floor markings to encourage physical distancing, where possible.
Signage
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that airports have stronger and more visible messaging to communicate public health information and guidelines.
  • Signage to remind customers to maintain physical distancing, where possible, throughout check-in areas.
Self-service
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Contactless, self-service check-in kiosks (in addition to existing web and mobile), include warnings on government entry requirements, health questionnaire, and mandatory customer face coverings.
Physical distancing at traditional check-in counters
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that workers and travellers practice physical distancing (maintain a distance of 2 metres from others) where possible.
  • (G) When physical distancing is not possible, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that individuals wear a face covering.
  • Floor markings and retractable stanchions.
  • Plexiglass between queue lanes.
Contactless technology
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Touchless, bag-tag printing and bag-drop process for customers on domestic flights.
  • Virtual airport customer service.
  • Ongoing work with vendors to make check-in and parking services contactless.

Security screening

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Checkpoint access procedures

(G)(R) – The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has implemented the following measures:

  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flight and deplaning, when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling. (Interim Order)
  • Passengers are asked to hold and scan their own electronic or printed boarding pass.
  • Passengers may carry one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 355 ml.
  • Additional hand sanitizing units have been placed at security checkpoints to be used by screening officers and the public.
  • Screening officers wear gloves when performing screening functions and a face covering when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Screening officers will add a face shield if the individual being screened cannot wear a face covering.
  • Explosive trace detection swabs are now changed after each use.
  • CATSA has increased the bin-cleaning frequency and is using strong anti-viral cleaning products for bins and other surfaces around the checkpoint.
  • Physical distancing enforced along security queues for both pre-board screening and non-passenger screening where possible.
  • Installation of stanchions, floor decals and metered queuing in place to ensure physical distancing where possible.
  • Extra cleaning protocols in place.
  • Hand sanitizer made available to passengers before and after process.
Passenger screening
  • (G) Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is conducting passenger searches in a manner that avoids face-to-face contact.
  • (R) TC requires temperature checks for passengers all on incoming transborder and international flights, as well as on outgoing and domestic flights at some airports. (Interim Order)
  • Physical distancing enforced along security queues where possible.
  • Searches conducted in a manner to avoid face-to-face contact.
  • One-stop security agreements for all arrivals from the US, Europe, and Australia – so travellers do not need to re-clear security.
Face coverings
  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flight and deplaning, when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling. (Interim Order)
  • Face covering requirements for customer-facing employee.
  • Personal protective equipment made available for employees: like, gloves, masks, disposable gowns, safety glasses/face shields, hand sanitizer.

Terminal

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Boarding gate
  • (R) Air operators must observe whether any person boarding the flight is exhibiting any symptoms. (Interim Order)
  • (R) Air operators must notify the passengers about their obligation to possess a face mask prior to boarding. (Interim Order)
  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flight and deplaning, when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling.
  • (R) Air operators must not permit a person exhibiting symptoms to board. (Interim Order)
  • (G) Air operators can accept, for domestic flights, government-issued identification that has expired after March 1, 2020.
  • (R) Interprovincial/territorial requirements may differ (i.e. self-isolation requirements).
  • Non-contact temperature checks for passengers prior to boarding/departure by a number of air carriers.
  • When possible, modification to gate counters to allow passengers to self-scan boarding documents and gate agents to conduct visual review of document.
  • Boarding process adjusted to maximize physical distancing where possible.
  • Encouraging gate check, or asking that carry-on be stowed under the seats to limit use of overhead bins.
  • Removal of stanchions at gates.
  • Floor decals on bridges at select gates.
  • Organized boarding queues with floor markings.
  • Upon boarding, personal protective equipment provided to customers by some air carriers (e.g. hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, etc.).
Dining areas/lounges
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Temporary closing or enhanced monitoring of: children’s spaces, food courts, premium lounges, and smoking areas.
  • Retail and food/beverage offer more grab and go options.
  • Vending machines added.
  • Contactless payment options made mandatory in all concessions at some airports.
Sanitation products
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Extra cleaning protocols (like, focus on high touch-point areas).
  • Hand sanitizer available at various points.
Personal Protective Equipment
  • (R) Gate agents must wear a face mask during the boarding process when a 2 metre distance cannot be respected. (Interim Order)
  • Face covering requirements for customer-facing employees.
  • Other personal protective equipment made available for employees: like, gloves, masks, disposable gowns, safety glasses/face shields, hand sanitizer.

Terminal gate equipment

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Air conditioning
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Following Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Report recommendations such as maintaining outdoor-based equipment (like, pre-conditioned air units) where conditioned air is needed.
Notification of ramp-up schedules
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Processes and plans in place.
Gate aircraft equipment and air filtering
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Preconditioned Air Units (PCA) and Ground Power Units are available and being maintained at stands.

Disembarking and arrivals

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Electronic declarations
  • (G)(R) Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada have developed and launched the ArriveCAN App for travellers to submit the mandatory Coronavirus Form electronically, in advance of their arrival, to reduce wait times at Canadian ports of entry and to limit points of contact.
  • (G) For customs declarations, CBSA has an eDeclaration app that allows travellers entering Canada (at certain airports) to fill out their customs declaration in advance of arrival and reduce the number of interactions with and time spent at a CBSA Primary Inspection kiosk.
None
Electronic health declaration
  • (G)(R) Canada Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada have developed and launched the ArriveCAN App for travellers to submit the mandatory “Coronavirus Form” electronically, in advance of their arrival, to reduce wait times at Canadian ports of entry and to limit points of contact.
  • Industry is following Canada Border Services Agency screening questions, Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial/territorial screening and isolation plan requirements.

Baggage claim area

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Speedy customs clearance by Governments
  • (G)(R) eDeclarations and use of the ArriveCAN app will allow for streamlined customs processing with fewer points of contact between passengers, Border Services Officers and airport staff.
  • Customs hall exits spaced to facilitate physical distancing where possible.
  • Extra customs kiosk cleaning.
Cleaning and disinfection protocols
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Strategic baggage carousel assignments to reduce congestion and promote physical distancing.
  • Additional signage and floor decals reminding passengers of physical distancing.
  • Extra cleaning of baggage carousels, baggage handling systems.
  • Installation of plexiglass barriers between staff and passengers at lost luggage counters.
  • Portion of baggage carts taken out of circulation to ensure sanitation can be met.
  • Monitoring of delivery time effectiveness to ensure passengers do not have to wait long periods of time.

Exit the landside area

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Airport terminal access
  • (R) Restrictions from airside to air terminal building only apply to U.S. pre-cleared areas.
  • Restricting access to terminals for passengers with boarding passes or same-day travel itinerary – with exceptions (like companion, persons with disabilities).
Cleaning and disinfection protocols
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Extra cleaning and disinfecting regimen includes frequently touched surfaces and high-traffic areas.

Aircraft

Passengers and crew

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Boarding
  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flight and deplaning, when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling. (Interim Order)
  • (R) Air operators must conduct a mandatory health check of passengers prior to boarding (flights to and within Canada). (Interim Order)
  • (R) Passengers must answer all health check questions and not make false declarations. (Interim Order)
  • (R) Air operators required to prevent the boarding of symptomatic passengers, passengers refusing to complete the health check, and those who have been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to medial reason related to COVID-19. (Interim Order)
  • Health questions asked of every customer.
  • Non-contact, temperature checks for guests prior to boarding/departure conducted by several carriers.
  • See additional measures under - Airports; Terminal Airside Area; Boarding Process.
Seat assignment
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that operators develop guidance for spacing passengers aboard aircraft when possible to optimize social distancing.
  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flight and deplaning, when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling. (Interim Order)
  • Gate agents will promote physical distancing by reseating customers when possible. Families and household members are allowed to sit next to each other.
  • Middle seats or every other seat on certain types of aircraft are unavailable to book for some carriers.
  • Assigned jump seats for cabin crew.
  • Passengers are asked to sit in their assigned seats.
Interaction on board
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends limiting non-essential tasks that put crew in contact with passengers.
  • (G) If a passenger is identified as having COVID-19 symptoms, the Government of Canada recommends that only one designated crew member provide in-flight service to the ill person and their travelling companions.
  • (G) The designated crew member should be equipped with the proper personal protective equipment and wash their hands after each interaction with the ill person.
  • Duty free suspended by some carriers.
  • Amenity kit/noise cancelling headsets suspended by some carriers.
  • Pillows, mattress pads and blankets removed.
  • Seatback pocket contents reduced, such as non-safety literature.
  • Newspapers removed.
  • Cabin crew discourage customers from lining-up.
Food and beverage service
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that operators limit non-essential tasks (which would include in-flight service).
  • Crew providing in-flight service must wear gloves during service.
  • Food and drink services reduced.
  • When food is provided, it is prepackaged or placed on seat prior to boarding.
Lavatory access
  • (G) Operators should make sure that aircraft lavatories are well-provisioned with potable water (where possible), soap, and paper towels to enable frequent hand washing by passengers and crew members.
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that if an ill person uses the lavatory, one designated crew member should immediately disinfect high touch hard surfaces in the used lavatory.
  • Extra surface and lavatory cleaning.
  • Dedicated crew lavatory, where there is more than one lavatory.
  • Cabin crew discourage customers from queuing.
  • Wipes and hand sanitizer provided where running water not available on aircraft.
Crew protection measures
  • (R) Passengers must wear a face covering at all times during security screening, boarding, flight and deplaning, when they are 2 metres or less from another person who is not an occupant of the same dwelling. (Interim Order)
  • (R) Crew members must wear a face covering at all times during the boarding process and during the flight when the crew member is 2 metres or less from another person. (Interim Order)
  • (G) Recommendation that operators clearly assign tasks and cabin areas of responsibility for crew members.
  • Face-covering requirements for customer-facing employee.
  • Other personal protective equipment made available for employees: like, gloves, masks, disposable gowns, safety glasses/face shields, hand sanitizer.
  • Additional on-board hand sanitizer, wipes and gloves in the flight deck along with guidance for all crew to wipe flight deck surfaces including thrust levers, flap lever, landing gear lever.
  • Dedicated crew seating zone.
  • Crews not sharing demonstration equipment or personal protective equipment.
  • Demonstration equipment is cleaned with special cloths prior to use.
  • Removal of blankets, pillows, etc. from crew rest areas.
  • Online training and/or cleaning of training equipment after use where in-person training necessary.
  • In crew rooms, certain air carriers have added extra daily cleaning measures and has increased the availability of hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment for crew pick-up prior to departure.

Disinfection – Flight deck

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Frequent cleaning of the flight deck including between crew transitions
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that operators provide crew and aircraft with: hand sanitizer, hard-surface disinfectants, disposable gloves, facial tissues, garbage bags, and non-medical face masks for use and distribution, as necessary, by crew members.
  • (G) Only aircraft manufacturer’s recommendations should be followed for flight-deck cleaning using only recommended cleaning products, as flight-deck displays can be damaged using an incompatible cleaning product.
  • Extra flight-deck cleaning protocol including using professional nightly groomers, in some instances.
  • Minimum daily (within 24 hour) cleaning/disinfecting of the flight deck or more frequently as needed/requested by crew.
  • Provide additional on board sanitizer, wipes and gloves to flight deck along with guidance for crew to wipe flight deck surfaces (thrust levers, flap lever, landing gear lever, etc.).
  • Crew members are asked to disembark while flight-deck sterilization is being completed.
  • Flight crew to perform a wipe-down of high-touch surfaces using disinfecting wipes after they complete their flight(s). Using cleaning/disinfecting products specified by the manufacturer and Health Canada.
  • Removal of dirt and debris prior to disinfection.
  • Use of modified form based on PHAC guidance, which is similar to Aircraft COVID-19 Disinfection Control Sheet (PHC Form 2).
  • Personnel frequently inspect flight decks and also receive feedback from grooming crews. If any damage is apparent, process in place to explore alternate cleaning products in coordination with aircraft manufacturer.
  • When cockpit cleaning/disinfecting in the area of switches and control panels, groomers are trained to advise maintenance personal if anything is disturbed in the flight deck during this process.
  • Flight crew have standard operating procedures in place to verify all switches, controls, and breakers are in the proper position as part of the aircraft acceptance procedures.

Disinfection – Cabin

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Cleaning and disinfection
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that operators provide Extra cleaning supplies to disinfect all surfaces of the aircraft,
  • (G) Operators should provide detailed instructions on proper cleaning of high-touch surfaces aboard aircraft and the disposal of potentially contaminated items.
  • Disinfection of aircraft ranges from every turn for the foreseeable future, to at least within a 24 hour period.
  • Surfaces cleared of dirt and debris prior to disinfection.
  • Electrostatic spraying at A stations.
  • Extra cleaning frequency, practices, products and equipment.
  • Regular fogging of live aircraft.
  • Aircraft with reported possible COVID cases on board provided “detailed” cabin and flight deck grooming with in-depth cleaning/sanitation and replacement of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.
  • Large aircraft using HEPA filters.
  • Frequent inspections of the aircraft cabin to check for any apparent damage to the interior due to cleaning/disinfection, and protocols in place to work with manufacturer if issues discovered.
  • Operating procedures reviewed and risk assessed for modifications to minimize number of personnel who need to contact high-touch surfaces, and to limit personnel for cleaning.

Disinfection – Cargo compartment

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Cleaning and disinfecting of touch services
  • (G) Operators should provide detailed instructions on proper cleaning of high-touch surfaces aboard aircraft and the disposal of potentially contaminated items.
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that operators use the appropriate solution and cleaning methods consistent with public health and manufacturer instructions.
  • Use of cleaning and disinfection products consistent with manufacturer.
  • Airline measures range from ad-hoc (per request) to daily cleaning and disinfection using electrostatic spray and wipe clean.
  • Maintenance personnel cleaning cargo compartments have all personal protective equipment and cleaning products required per manufacturer.
  • Dirt and debris removed before disinfection.

Disinfection – Maintenance

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Regular maintenance to air and water systems
  • (R) Potable water systems and cabin air recirculation systems are already part of an air operators approved maintenance schedule, which require both servicing and scheduled maintenance. Any additional servicing or scheduled maintenance tasks should be based on the aircraft manufacturer’s recommendations with voluntary implementation as required.
  • Aircraft with reported possible COVID cases on board provided “detailed” cabin and flight deck grooming with in-depth cleaning/sanitation and replacement of HEPA filter (when applicable).
  • Some airlines ensure aircraft disinfected prior to overnight maintenance activity.
  • Industry is following manufacturer and Health Canada recommendations and intervals for potable water systems.
  • Maintenance personnel have access to necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning products.
Cleaning and disinfecting of access panels and other maintenance areas/touch surfaces, and minimizing number of personnel who need to contact these high-touch surfaces
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that operators provide detailed instructions on proper cleaning of high-touch surfaces aboard aircraft and the disposal of potentially contaminated items.
  • Maintenance teams are planning maintenance activities around a single technician doing the work to minimize contact between technicians and the work area.
  • No access to the flight-deck policies have been implemented.
  • Maintenance personnel required to remove/install access panels are provided with all personal protective equipment and cleaning products required per manufacturer.
  • Procedures in place for maintenance and cleaning staff to ensure all areas are cautiously cleaned to avoid incorrect positioning of any breakers, control handles and knobs.
  • Flight crew procedures for take-over of an aircraft include checks for correct positioning all equipment, switches, and breakers.

Air system operations

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Sick passenger positioning
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that crew members determine whether the ill person should be moved:
    • a) For short or full flights or when there are travel companions (like, family members) seated with the ill person, it may be best to leave the ill person seated where they are to minimize movement through the aircraft.
    • b) For long flights with extra seating capacity, it may be worthwhile to move the ill person to the rear row window seat, for air circulation purposes. Except for travelling companions, consider moving passengers out of the two rows ahead of the ill person.
  • Follow manufacturers’ recommendations and procedures for access, and where necessary, personnel are provided with required personal protective equipment and cleaning products.
Ground operations
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • For aircraft with HEPA filters, the recirculation system is run to maximize flow through the filters.
  • For aircraft with air conditioning, running the air conditioning packs (Auxiliary Power Unit is used at the gate).
Flight operations
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Standard operating procedures reflect recommendation to operate environmental control systems with all Packs in AUTO and recirculation fans on, and to switch packs back on as soon as thrust performance allows should the in-flight standard operating procedure require it be turned off for take-off.
Minimum Equipment List dispatch
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Following TC-approved Minimum Equipment List for dispatch limitations, with recognition that fully operational air conditioning packs and recirculation fans provide the best overall cabin ventilation performance.
  • Increased operational focus on Auxiliary Power Units, lavatories and potable water systems.
Filter maintenance
  • (R) Servicing and scheduled maintenance tasks for cabin air recirculation systems, including replacement of filters, are already part of an air operator’s approved maintenance schedule. Any additional servicing or scheduled maintenance tasks should be based on the aircraft manufacturer’s recommendations with voluntary implementation as required.
  • Use of HEPA filtration systems on many aircraft.
  • Aircraft with reported possible COVID cases on board provided “detailed” cabin and flight deck grooming with in-depth cleaning/sanitation and replacement of HEPA filter (when applicable).
  • Established process for safe disposal of all HEPA filters/access to personal protective equipment for maintenance staff.

Air crew

Crew members

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Quarantine measures not imposed on crew, for the purposes of complying with flight-time limitation (FTL) rest requirements.

  • Airlines have advised crews that the 14-day mandatory quarantine applies for those returning from personal or leisure travel.

Ill crew members should not report for work and advise employer.

  • (R) If a crew member develops any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 while in Canada, they must follow instructions provided by the public health authority.
  • (G) The Government of Canada recommends that crew members who become ill should follow the directions of the public health authority. Crew members should immediately advise the operator.
  • Pay to support self-isolation when required; insurance coverage.
  • Availability of voluntary leave of absences for pilots at higher risk.
  • Symptomatic crew members prohibited from operating a flight.

Face coverings

  • (R) While working as crew, and each time they enter Canada, they must wear a face covering while in public settings if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Personal protective equipment items available, including masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, antiseptic wipes, and face shields.

Health monitoring

  • (R) While working as crew, and each time they enter Canada, crew must:
    • Continually monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 until they depart Canada, or for 14 days, whichever comes first.
  • (G) Crew should monitor health before, during and after travel.
  • (G) Crew should know how to contact provincial, territorial, and local health authorities for their residence and while on layovers.
  • (G) If possible, crew should take their temperature twice a day (morning and evening), monitoring for symptoms of illness.
  • (R) Mandatory temperature taking for crew members began in July 2020.
  • (G) An air operator’s aviation occupational health and safety committee is recommended to check in with crew members periodically to evaluate the fitness of crew members based on the latest applicable information.
  • Some carriers are requiring mandatory health checks for all crew members.
  • Self-disclosure process was implemented by some operators for staff members having a recent travel history, a family member showing symptoms, or have had an interaction with a recently diagnosed COVID-19 patient.
  • Some carriers are providing thermometers to crew to check temperatures during layover.

Flight crew

  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • No access to flight deck policy instituted by some carriers, requiring that no staff enter the flight deck unless absolutely necessary.
  • Measures to limit non-essential flight deck travel.
  • Only one flight crew member may rest at a time and must remain in their operational seat.

Provide cleaning and disinfectant products

  • (G) Operators should provide crew and aircraft with: hand sanitizer, hard-surface disinfectants, disposable gloves, facial tissues, garbage bags, and non-medical face masks (R) for use and distribution, as necessary, by crew members.
  • (G) Crew members should be provided with at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Personal protective equipment items available, including masks, gloves, gowns, goggles, antiseptic wipes, and face shields

Layovers

  • (G) Operators should arrange local transport for crew members to hotels that avoids large groups, crowded areas, and public transit.
  • (G) Operators should facilitate crew member feeding that avoids crowded restaurants, such as using room service.
  • (G) Operators should avoid planning long stopovers or layovers in areas with known or suspected community transmission of COVID-19.
  • (G) Crew members should remain in their hotel rooms for the duration of their layovers as much as possible, while limiting their activities in public, and to practice physical distancing.
  • Some operators have exclusive hotel shuttles for crew.
  • Assignment of crew to in-terminal hotels, where possible, to prevent need for transportation.
  • Regular disinfection of employee and guest buses.
  • Larger crew vehicles for crew or multiple smaller vehicles.
  • Supplies have been sent to all layover stations by some operators so that crew members can bring them to hotels for disinfection.
  • Some air operators advising crew to stay in hotel rooms, use takeout, room service or dine alone in on-site restaurant.
  • Some crews advised to stay in hotel room unless to seek medical attention.

Practice proper hygiene

  • (G) Crew members should follow operator guidance for COVID-19 prevention, including proper hand hygiene, physical distancing, and cough/sneeze etiquette.
  • Additional hand sanitization for crew’s personal use provided to crews where running water not on board aircraft.

Air cargo

Cargo facility

Activity/Item Government of Canada Measure or Guidance (R – Requirement, G – Guidance)

Industry Measures

*This list is not exhaustive. Measures are implemented across Canada in accordance with operational realities and needs (e.g., airport/aircraft size)

Onsite safety
  • (G) Make sure facilities exist to allow workers to wash their hands often with soap under warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Visitors requested to wear a non-medical face covering and that anyone who is showing symptoms should not attend facilities in person.
  • Signage and floor decals to encourage physical distancing.
Physical handover of goods
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • Employees wear gloves, practice physical distancing when possible.
Cleaning and disinfecting
  • The Government of Canada continues to monitor the actions proactively taken by industry and other aviation partners and will take further action as appropriate.
  • High-touch surfaces are being disinfected regularly.
  • Cargo compartment fogging is completed along with cabin fogging.