The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has caught 30 people who have allegedly tried to enter the country with suspected fake COVID-19 test results.
In an email to CBC News, CBSA spokesperson Louis-Carl Brissette Lesage said that between Jan. 7 and March 24 of this year, officers intercepted 10 suspected fraudulent test result documents at airports in Canada.
Meanwhile, between Feb. 15 and March 24, officers at land ports of entry found 20 people trying to enter the country with suspected fake COVID-19 test results.
“All travellers arriving in Canada are obligated by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions,” Brissette Lesage said. “Providing false information to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada or making false fraudulent attempts is a serious offence and may result in penalties and/or criminal charges.”
In January, the federal government ordered that all travellers returning to Canada by air from abroad must produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights.
Every traveller over the age of five must show a negative test result from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) test administered in the 72 hours before their flight’s departure.
Similar requirements were instituted for non-essential travellers at land border crossings last month.
Recent arrests by police shed light on some of these instances at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
One occurred on the afternoon of March 21, police say. That’s when a CBSA officer came across a negative COVID-19 test document that appeared to be fake while conducting an inspection check.
It was reviewed by public health officials, and in the end, a 45-year-old Edmonton man was arrested and charged with using a forged document.
A similar incident happened on the evening of Feb. 8. This time, a 29-year-old Stratford, Ont., man was arrested on the same charge.
The CBSA says failure to comply with the current border entry restrictions could lead to up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $750,000.
As well, the agency says, a person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while wilfully or recklessly contravening the federal Quarantine Act could face a fine of up to $1 million, up to three years in prison or both.