Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been the smoothest experience for many Canadians.
With the frequent changes in border restrictions, maintaining it has been challenging at times. However, with summer approaching, many travel restrictions have eased with the decline in COVID-19 activity, potentially making travel more attractive despite huge delays at airports and passport offices.
Ottawa has promised to fix those delays as the travel industry restarts after two years of hibernation due to COVID-19.
Plus, here’s what you need to know about Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Starting June 20, unvaccinated Canadians can once again board a plane or passenger train in the country.
From October 30, 2021, those over the age of 12 who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 were barred from boarding a plane or train, and most of them now have a negative COVID-19 test as an option. Showing the -19 test was not allowed. vaccination.
Federal government drops vaccine mandate for Canadian travelers
The federal liberals placed the vaccine mandate last fall when the delta variant remained the dominant version of the virus, and the vaccines were more effective at preventing both transmission and infection than the newer Omicron variants.
Ottawa’s move on June 15 came as questions over the effectiveness of the vaccine mandate faced what could well be described as the era of Omicron – the immune-suppressing version that infected vaccinated people. Proven to be adept at doing it. However, vaccines remain effective in preventing serious disease.
COVID travel: Canada temporarily removing random COVID testing
Meanwhile, Ottawa announced on June 10 that it was temporarily ending random COVID-19 testing of vaccinated passengers arriving at airports between June 11 and June 30. During that time unvaccinated passengers are required to be tested on site.
Random testing will be removed from Canadian airports on July 1 and performed at off-site locations for all passengers.
What has changed since this year?
As the COVID-19 situation began to improve in Canada and abroad earlier this year, the federal government moved to revise its border restrictions, which were tightened during the emergence of Omicron late last year. Had gone.
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On 15 February, the government announced that it was dropping the pre-entry PCR COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated passengers. As of February 28, negative rapid antigen or PCR test results were accepted to meet the entry requirements.
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However, come April 1, fully vaccinated travelers are no longer required to show evidence of any negative COVID-19 tests upon entry into Canada.
On April 25, non-vaccinated and partially vaccinated children aged five to 11 years, as well as a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor, are now allowed to enter Canada as well. No need to complete pre-entry COVID-19 test for Fully vaccinated travelers and children aged five to 11 are also no longer required to provide a quarantine plan upon entry.
In addition, the federal government no longer requires fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada to wear masks in public places, to monitor and report, if they develop signs or symptoms, to quarantine if on the same trip. Any other passenger in the group showing signs or symptoms or testing positive, and maintain a list of close contacts and places visited.
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Although travel rules have been relaxed, Ottawa has said it will be ready to see them again if the COVID-19 situation worsens.
“Today’s announcement is possible because Canadians have come forward to protect each other. We are now able to adjust our policy because we have consistently followed the best advice from public health officials,” Dominique LeBlanc, Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, said on June 14.
“Our job as a national government has always been to keep Canadians safe. If the situation gets worse, we stand ready to roll back the policies needed to protect Canadians.”
While the lifting of travel restrictions has been making headlines, many still remain.
Despite the COVID-19 vaccine mandate being dropped, domestic travelers are still required to wear face masks on planes and inter-provincial trains in Canada.
Travelers arriving in Canada from another country will still need to enter proof of their vaccination and travel details in the Arivacan app within 72 hours before boarding an airplane, train or ship.
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If travelers entering Canada have not been vaccinated, they are still subject to testing and quarantine measures.
Proof of a negative PCR or other molecular test is required within 72 hours of arrival in Canada, or a negative antigen test taken the previous day at a pharmacy, laboratory or other medical facility.
Unvaccinated Canadians will also need to quarantine for 14 days and submit a plan via the ArrivCan app where they will be quarantined. Another COVID-19 test should be taken on the eighth day of the quarantine. Foreign nationals who are not fully immunized will be allowed to enter only under specific circumstances.
Cruise ship passengers and crew members will still need to be fully vaccinated.
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All passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must provide evidence of a negative PCR or other molecular test within 72 hours of boarding, or a negative antigen test taken on the previous day at a pharmacy, laboratory or other medical facility.
This information must be submitted through the Arrivcan app prior to boarding any cruise ship in Canada or before boarding any cruise ship that docks in Canada at any time during the cruise.
Although travel rules in Canada are changing, officials have advised travelers to inform what the COVID-19 regulations are in the destination they are traveling to before leaving.
— With Sean Boynton and Irene Lavery’s Flies
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