The Conservative Party is doubling down on its call for the federal government to do away with travel restrictions and revert back to “pre-pandemic rules” in light of recent airport delays.

The party’s opposition day motion acknowledges that while airports are still operating at reduced capacity, current restrictions have been cited as “ineffective and contributing to additional delays.”

“International allies have moved to lift COVID-19 restrictions at airports and other points of entry…Canada is losing business and economic opportunities,” the motion backed by transport critic Melissa Lantsman reads.

In recent weeks, multiple airports have reported extremely long lines at airport security and border screening checkpoints. Passengers say they have been forced to wait for hours, resulting in missed flights.

While some attribute the delays to enduring pandemic-related vaccine mandate screening and randomized COVID-19 testing, others argue it’s due mainly to staffing shortages at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).

Travellers entering Canada who are fully vaccinated are still required to upload their vaccine receipts on the government’s ArriveCAN app and can be selected for testing. Unvaccinated travellers are still required to get a COVID-19 test prior to entering Canada, will be tested upon arrival, and must provide a suitable quarantine plan.

On the staffing front, workforce decline is an industry-wide issue.

CATSA CEO Mike Saunders addressed this in a statement released on May 2, apologizing for the inconvenience travellers are facing.

“CATSA is currently experiencing the pent-up demand for air travel occasioned by the pandemic. This follows two tumultuous years that resulted in a significant number of layoffs throughout the aviation industry, including the security-screening workforce,” Saunders said.

The Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) weighed in on Thursday, calling on the public safety minister and CBSA to increase the number of border services officers assigned to passenger operations at Canadian airports to alleviate pressures.

"It is absolutely irresponsible of the federal government to let the situation stand as it is" said Mark Weber, CIU National President.

"These delays are a source of frustration for all and contribute to the considerable overcrowding of already busy airports. I urge Minister Mendicino and CBSA to increase the number of border officers and review the infrastructure in place in order to speed up the processing of travellers."

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has expressed concern over the delays and said the government is ensuring resources are ramped up.

However, he also suggested last week that the long lines were in part caused by travellers getting re-accustomed to airport processes after being grounded for two years due to the pandemic.

"Taking out the laptops, taking out the fluids -- all that adds 10 seconds here, 15 seconds there," he told reporters.

Alghabra’s comments have drawn criticism from opposition members.

“Instead of taking responsibility for the delays, the minister blamed ‘out-of-practice’ travellers for causing delays at security checkpoints,” said Lantsman in a press release.