At least 30 people have been caught entering Canada with false-negative COVID test results. Canada requires everyone entering the country to have taken a COVID-19 molecular test. However, Canadian authorities have reason to believe at least 30 people have used falsified documents to enter the country since January 7th.
False test results by air and land
Taking a COVID-19 test is becoming standard procedure while traveling. For the past year, negative test results have been required worldwide as a condition of entry. However, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has confirmed that at least 30 people have tried to enter Canada using false documents, having not taken a test.
Since January 7th, 10 people have been stopped at Canadian airports for carrying false documents. The same requirement has been in place for the land border with America since February 15th. Since this date, at least 20 people have tried to cross the border using false test results.
In a statement, the CBSA said,
“The CBSA is aware that fraudulent COVID-19 test results are being produced and that some travellers may attempt to use such fraudulent documentation when seeking entry to Canada. The CBSA is working closely with domestic and international partners to detect and intercept such documents as early as possible in the travel continuum.
“CBSA is also working closely with Transport Canada (TC), whose relationship with air carriers is key in identifying suspect documents before travellers land on Canadian soil via air mode.”
The CBSA says over 99% of people arriving in Canada by air and across the land border have the correct documents. However, there is still a risk that some people are slipping through the net.
Penalties for false documents
Transport Canada issued two fines of CA$10,000 and CA$7,000 in February for two passengers who tested positive before flying from Cancun, Mexico, to Montreal. The two passengers tried to enter the country with false test results but were ultimately apprehended.
According to Canada’s Quarantine Act, anyone caught with false test results could be fined up to CA$750,000 and spend six months in prison. If a passenger passes on the virus when in Canada, having used false documents to enter the country, they could be fined CA$1 million and spend three years in prison.
False test results a precursor to false vaccine passports
Rumors of false test results have been circulating online for a while. Most countries require tests to be administered within 72 hours of traveling, which can cause problems for some people. Canada isn’t the only country experiencing issues with false documents. The US, South Africa, Mexico, France, and several other European countries have all found fake results and have warned passengers from trying to use false test results.
Many are concerned that if vaccine passports are introduced and allow international travel to resume, false vaccine passports will be the next counterfeit document to tackle. The IATA is so convinced that false vaccine passports will soon be circulating, it is already taking steps to minimize fraud. It is launching a mobile app, so paper certificates will not be needed making fraud much more difficult.
However, until there is an agreed, secure approach for identifying false test results and vaccine certificates, there will undoubtedly be some people who try to get around the regulations. Vaccine passports will likely be a part of travel for the foreseeable future, so there needs to be a way to identify and stop fraudulent documents.
What do you think of the number of fake test results found in Canada? Do you think more people are slipping through the cracks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.