COVID-19 travel rule change: Canada removes pre-arrival COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers

COVID-19 travel rule change: Canada removes pre-arrival COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travellers
·2 min read

The pre-arrival testing rule for fully vaccinated travellers to enter Canada will be removed effective April 1, 2022.

The federal government will continue with its random PCR testing efforts at Canadian airports but fully vaccinated travellers do not have to quarantine while they wait for their test result.

Travellers must provide their proof of COVID-19 vaccination through the ArriveCAN app.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers will still need to undergo a PCR molecular COVID-19 test on arrival and on Day 8 of their 14-day quarantine.

At the end of February, Canada switched the pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirement from a PCR test to a rapid antigen test that had to be taken up to 72 hours before entering the country.

Rules for cruise travellers, masks on planes

For cruise travellers, when the season begins in early-April, an antigen test is required for all passengers no more than one day before scheduled departure but there will no longer be a requirement for individuals to be tested before getting off the cruise ship.

"I think it’s fair to say that we are now entering into a transition phase of this pandemic," health minister Jean-Yves Duclos said at the press conference on Thursday.

"Today’s announcement is encouraging but let us remember that all measures are subject to review."

He added the definition of a fully vaccinated traveller is not changing at the moment, meaning two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine (or at least 1 dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

Additionally, no changes are being made to the masking rules on planes but Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, stressed the importance of wearing masks in these settings.

"From a public health perspective, certainly the use of face masks is a personal protective measure, it’s another layer of protection that we certainly would recommend, and certainly in the context of being…in an enclosed space, like say an airplane, for an extended period of time, I think it just makes sense," Dr. Njoo said.

"It doesn't’ matter if there’s a mandate or not, I think it’s just a good practice to keep wearing a face mask in certain contexts."