Travelers heading to Canada will have an easier time entering the country as it drops its COVID entry requirements starting Saturday.
Travelers will no longer have to show proof of vaccination, take a test before or on arrival or follow quarantine rules, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a news release Monday. Canada will also no longer require the use of ArriveCANwhich travelers can use to submit information like vaccination proof and travel details, among other changes.
The topic of loosening COVID measures came up in Wednesday’s caucus meeting at Parliament Hill. Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault told the press officials were “going to make sure that as we open up the economy, we do so in a systematic and respectful way.”
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Earlier this year, Canada loosened its entry requirements so fully vaccinated travelers don’t have to show a negative pre-departure COVID test but did still have to use ArriveCAN system (or risk a $5,000 fine).
Those who weren’t considered fully vaccinated could only enter Canada for certain types of visits and had to show a negative test before and after arrival plus do a 14-day quarantine.
The country first closed its borders in March 2020.
What are the new rules for entering Canada?
In addition to dropping vaccine, testing and quarantine rules, travelers will no longer need to monitor for or report COVID symptoms after arriving.
Transport Canada is also removing additional rules, and travelers will not face health checks for travel by air or rail, and masks will not be required on planes or trains, though they are still encouraged to wear “high quality and well-fitted masks” throughout their trip, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
► Pre-embarkation testing, vaccine, and ArriveCAN requirements for cruise passengers will also be lifted, though some guidelines will remain in place, which the agency said would line up with the US
The agency said the changes were “facilitated by a number of factors, including modeling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 fuelled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalization and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for COVID-19.”
Following the change, the US Travel Association’s Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy, Tori Emerson Barnes, called on the US to stop requiring that international visitors show proof of vaccination.
“Ottawa is taking the right step by lifting its vaccine and testing requirement to enter Canada, which will give its economy a substantial boost,” she said in a statement. “Washington should follow suit by immediately suspending proof of vaccination for qualified visitors from Canada and other nations, given the wide access to effective Covid boosters and therapies.”
She continued, “Canada is the No. 1 source of international travelers to the United States, and we should take every action to accelerate recovery from this vital market.”
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CDC warns people before traveling to Canada
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention currently says Canada has a “high” COVID-19 level and warns people to be up to date with their vaccines before entering the country.
Canada saw 18,718 new COVID cases over the past week, and 223 new deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.