Feds to consider further easing of measures, says Health Minister Duclos
Starting on April 1, the federal government will be eliminating pre-arrival testing for COVID-19 for fully-vaccinated travellers on the last day before their vacations end.
The change in regulations was announced in Ottawa last week by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, with input from Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra and Minister of Tourism Randy Boissonnault.
Rules enforced until then
According to a statement issued on March 17 by the Ministry of Health, effective April 1 at 12:01 am, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by air, land or water.
However, fully vaccinated travellers seeking to arrive in Canada before April 1 must still have a valid pre-entry test. It should also be noted that travellers arriving to Canada from any country, who qualify as fully vaccinated, may need to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival if selected for mandatory random testing.
No change for unvaccinated
Travellers selected for mandatory random testing are not required to quarantine while awaiting their test result. For partially or unvaccinated travelers who are currently allowed to travel to Canada, pre-entry testing requirements are not changing.
“Adjustments to Canada’s border measures are made possible by a number of factors, including Canada’s high vaccination rate, the increasing availability and use of rapid tests to detect infection, decreasing hospitalizations and growing domestic availability of treatments for COVID-19,” Duclos said during a webcast.
“As vaccination levels and healthcare system capacity improve, we will continue to consider further easing of measures at the borders-and when to adjust those measures-to keep the people in Canada safe,” he added.
Test still required for some
Unless otherwise exempt, all travellers five years of age or older who do not qualify as fully vaccinated must continue to provide proof of an accepted type of pre-entry COVID-19 test result in accordance with the following criteria:
- A valid, negative antigen test, administered or observed by an accredited lab or testing provider, taken outside of Canada no more than one day before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry; or
- A valid negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry; or
- A previous positive molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry. The government pointed out that positive antigen test results will not be accepted.
Cautious and calibrated
All travellers five years of age or older who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated must continue to provide proof of an accepted type of pre-entry COVID-19 test
All travellers continue to be required to submit their mandatory information in ArriveCAN (the free mobile app or through the website) before their arrival in Canada. Regardless of their vaccination status, travellers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may have to test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days. Travellers taking a cruise or a plane must submit their information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before boarding.
“Decreasing COVID-19 case counts, coupled with Canada’s high vaccination rates and strict vaccination requirements for travel, have set the stage for the next steps in our government’s cautious and calibrated approach to safely easing the measures at our border,” said Transport Minister Alghabra.
“Lifting the pre-entry testing requirements for travellers to Canada will make it easier for Canadians to safely take advantage of emerging opportunities for personal and business travel, as Canada’s transportation system recovers from the pandemic,” he stated.
Minister of Tourism Boissonnault said that after a challenging two years, virtually all participants in the Canadian economy, including the tourism sector, are looking for a rebound and renewed growth. “We in government have been listening to the concerns of tourism businesses across the country,” he said.
“We are confident that, thanks to all that Canadians have done to protect one another, we can now take the next step forward and remove testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada. The economy, workers and tourism business owners will benefit from this next step in opening Canada up once again to the world.”