No travel mask mandate in Canada, despite spike in illnesses: feds

By Cormac Mac Sweeney and Hana Mae Nassar

Despite a spike in COVID-19, flu, and RSV cases across the country with many hospitals overwhelmed, Canada isn’t bringing in mandatory masks to the travel sector at this time.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra gave no indication he is considering a return to mandates. However, he says wearing a face covering while travelling is the “kind thing to do” to protect others around us.

“I’m following the advice that doctors around the country are giving. We continue to say that masks are recommended on planes and at airports. I continue to wear my mask when I am travelling on a plane,” he said.

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“We will continue to follow the advice of doctors. Right now, most of these decisions are based on recommendations, strongly recommending masks. So I ask people to follow that advice because, again, it’s the kind thing, not only for yourself, but the people around you.”

All remaining federal COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted on Oct. 1, including mask mandates, random testing upon international arrival, and quarantine for unvaccinated foreign visitors.

Travellers to Canada also no longer need to show proof of vaccination.

The end of travel measures also mean filling out the ArriveCan app, which has been highly controversial, is no longer required.

When federal ministers announced the end of COVID-19 public health restrictions at the end of September, they said the latest wave of the virus at the time had largely passed and that travel-related cases were not having a major impact.

The federal health minister, however, noted that restrictions could return if the situation warrants.

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