Feds confirm end of pre-arrival COVID testing at borders for vaccinated travellers

Fully vaccinated travellers will no longer require a negative COVID-19 test to come to Canada starting next month.

The changes will go into effect on Apr. 1, random PCR tests will continue and travellers will still have to use the Arrive-Can app before entering the country.

“I think it’s fair to say we are now entering into a transition phase of this pandemic,” said federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos during the announcement on Thursday morning.

“As the weather warms and people spend more time outside we can expect to see transmission decline in the coming months. We are now ready to announce further changes to border measures.”


The federal government previously eased pandemic travel restrictions at the beginning of March when they allowed vaccinated travellers to only be randomly selected for on arrival testing and giving individuals the option of using a rapid test result before a scheduled flight.

Travellers who get selected for random testing no longer need to quarantine while awaiting their test results.

Unvaccinated Canadian travellers will continue to be tested on arrival and are still required to quarantine for 14 days. They will need to be tested again on day eight of their quarantine. Unvaccinated foreign nationals are still barred from travelling to Canada, barring a few exemptions.

Unvaccinated children coming to Canada travelling with vaccinated adults no longer have to isolate from school or daycare for 14 days.

The current rules require anyone entering the country to provide proof of a negative rapid test within a day of their flight or within a day of arriving at the border or a PCR test three days prior to arriving.

All arriving international travellers still need to submit their proof of vaccination and/or quarantine plan through the ArriveCAN app prior to arriving in Canada.

“Public health measures are temporary and we will adjust them based on public health recommendations,” said Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra. “As we move to this next step I want to thanks our airports, airliines, tourism operators, travellers, and all workers in the air sector and cruise industry for their tireless work over the last two years.”

The United States is still requiring proof of a negative test to enter the country, as of Friday the U.K. is lifting all travel restrictions regardless of vaccination status.


Tourism industry welcomes changes to COVID testing at Canadian border

The change is welcome news, just in time for the tourist season, said Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable.

“We’ve seen the collapse of our international tourism and convention business over the course of the last two years, and were on the cusp of losing the summer tourist season as well,” Beatty said.

He said anything the government can do to remove friction at the border will help convince people to come to Canada rather than go elsewhere.

It’ll also make it easier for Canadians to return home after an international getaway this summer.

“Canada’s tourism sector is ready to ensure the safety of travellers , employers, and communities in which they operate,” said Minister of Tourism Randy Boissonault. “They are ready to welcome back the world.”

The president of the Canadian Airport Council agrees the move is undoubtedly a big deal for the tourism and travel industry, but says there are still some measures she’d like to see change.

“We would like to see Canada look at a move to a different system for national surveillance for testing for the virus, whether that’s wastewater, and move toward a new system so that we’re not seeing that impede travel and the movement of people at our airports,” explained Monette Pasher, interim president of the Canadian Airport Council. “So that is something that we’d like to continue to talk about moving forward, to find another approach.”

“It’s nice to be moving forward with travel. This will bring Canada in line with many jurisdictions like the U.K., Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland. So it’s nice to be moving forward,” she said.

With files from The Canadian Press and CityNews reporter Monika Gul

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