A group of Israeli terror survivors on a charity-sponsored summer camp trip to Canada reportedly missed a visit to Canada’s Wonderland on Wednesday because they had to spend their first day in Toronto rushing to meet a COVID-19 testing deadline.
The National Post spoke with the trip organizers for the charity, both of whom have asked not to be named out of safety concerns as the charity has been receiving antisemitic threats.
The organizer told the Post that nearly half of 33 children were selected for random COVID-19 testing at Toronto Pearson.
“We wake up to 15 emails, telling 15 of the kids they need to go get tested,” they said.
Mandatory random airport COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travellers resumed on July 19 after Health Canada temporarily paused the measure in June.
(1/3) Mandatory random #Covid19 testing for fully vaccinated air travellers entering Canada’s 4 major airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto (Pearson) and Montreal resumes July 19, 2022.
Learn more: https://t.co/02tzyQdi47 pic.twitter.com/1pOE2epQ1R
— Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) July 14, 2022
The federal government moved airport testing to “offsite” locations to avoid congestion. This includes in-person appointments at selected testing facilities like pharmacies, or virtual appointments for self-swab tests.
Anyone selected for a random COVID-19 screening must complete the test by midnight the next day, according to the government’s rules.
This mandate caused a hectic day for the Israeli summer campers. Since families across the Greater Toronto Area offered room and boarding to the children, trip organizers had to drive to different parts of the city to meet the testing deadline, reported the Post.
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This meant the group had to cancel their visit to Canada’s Wonderland and Niagara Falls, which were already paid for.
Instead, organizers spent Wednesday helping the kids, who aren’t English speakers, fill out paperwork and look for screening locations that can test them all at once.
“The kids can’t do it themselves, as they speak Arabic and Hebrew, but even crazier, there’s no way to make an appointment,” the trip organizer told the Post.
The office of Thornhill MP Melissa Lantsman had been contacted by the group to help them get through the COVID-19 testing system.
“These kids have seen some of the worst horrors in life and instead of enjoying their time here they are forced to do unnecessary tests so this government can continue their COVID theatre,” the Conservative MP told Daily Hive in an email.
The trip organizer told the Post that all 33 campers tested negative for COVID-19 prior to boarding their Air Canada flight on Monday from Tel Aviv to Toronto.
Airport officials have also plead with the federal government to remove the mandatory random testing program to minimize delays.
With files from Daily Hive Montreal reporter Al Sciola.