On October 1, 2022, the Canadian Government removed all COVID-19 restrictions for travellers entering the country, including testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements.
This decision was made due to a variety of factors, including high vaccination rates in Canada, lower hospitalization levels and death rates, the availability and use of vaccine boosters, availability of rapid tests and treatments for COVID-19.
The Public Health Agency in Canada announced that starting October 1, all travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer need:
- To submit information about the health through the ArriveCAN application or through the website;
- Provide proof of vaccination;
- Pre- or on-arrival Antigen or PCR test;
- Quarantine or isolate;
- Monitor and report if people develop signs or feel symptoms of COVID-19 upon their arrival.
Transport Canada is removing existing travel requirements as well. As such, travellers will not be needed to:
- do health check-ups for travel on air and rail; or
- wear masks on planes and trains.
Travel restrictions on cruises are also being removed.
This announcement marks the end of COVID-19 travel measures that had been in place since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Canadian government announced that it was time to remove the measures due to the pandemic being under greater control in Canada.
Additionally, to remove travel restrictions, provinces and territories across Canada have gradually lifted mask mandates and social distancing requirements throughout 2022. About 90% of Canadians five years and older have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.
“Thanks to Canadians who got vaccinated, we have reached the point where we are able safely to lift the sanitary measures at the border,” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health. “But, we expect COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses will continue to circulate during the cold season, so I recommend everyone to stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses, and exercise individual public health measures,”- said the Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health.
People should stay updated on the most recent travel advice for safe travel information.
This move comes one week later Canadian members of Parliament and border-city mayors sent a letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden to remove “unnecessary” travel restrictions that they think have hurt border cities even as “both countries have mostly returned to normal daily routine life.”
Canada now is on this list of 85 countries and territories which lifted all Covid-19 entry requirements, following similar moves by Japan last month, as well as Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Chile.
LINK: Which Countries Are Open to Unvaccinated Tourists? And With No Covid Testing? – Bloomberg
Covid-19 cases in Canadian provinces are below their January peak, and Covid-related hospitalizations are also on decline, based on government data. Approximately 85.4 percent of Canadians who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 82 percent (31.39 million) have completed their primary dose series. Despite the high vaccination rate, Canadian officials had come under fire for strict vaccine mandates at the country’s border with the United States, most notably in January, when truck drivers protested across the country and formed a disruptive blockade in Ottawa. Prime Minister Trudeau encouraged emergency measures to lift the blockade. Before the announcement related to lifting all COVID mandates, Canada had required proof of full vaccination for non-Canadian citizens entering the country, with only a few exceptions.
What does the biggest Canadian airline say?
Air Canada has announced that they welcomed the government’s decision to lift restrictions. Craig Landry, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada, said that“They welcome the lifting of these restrictions, acknowledging that air travel is safe and that the measures were not justified by science. We believe it will surely facilitate travel, help to keep stabilizing the country’s air transport sector and support Canada’s economy. Our customers and crew will still have the option to wear masks and we also advise them to monitor their own health condition to be sure they feel well”.
Relief or Concern as Pandemic Restrictions are Lifted Across Canada?
Provinces across the country started to end all restrictions related to COVID-19 that have crippled small businesses within the past two years.
Saskatchewan and Alberta held a leading position, and reports indicate even Ontario, with some of the toughest lockdown measures in the country within the past 24 months, is considering an easing of public health measures.
“The last two years have taken a significant toll on Albertans’ overall health, social and economic well-being. Now that we have achieved high vaccination rates, it is time to shift to a balanced approach where we can live with COVID-19 and return to normal routine life,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
Alberta introduced a three-step approach, which included the removal of the Restrictions Exemption Program and capacity limits under 500 capacity, including libraries, and allows for food and beverage consumption in seated audience settings for large events. The mandatory masking for children and youth in schools and for youth aged 12 and under in any setting ended in February.
“Lifting business restrictions is a big step, but only the first towards a small business recovery plan. Nowadays, only 27 % of Alberta small businesses are at normal sales and 21 % are about to go bankrupt. Most Alberta small businesses have inherited over $165 thousand in new debt just to survive the restrictions within the past two years.
“We encourage the Alberta government to back up the announcement with a plan to boost consumer confidence over the weeks ahead. After 2 years of uncertainty, messaging needs to shift towards encouraging the safe return to activities like seeing a movie, going to the gym, events and travel so that our small businesses can start the long road to recovery.”
“As we start to live with COVID-19, there is a continuing need for personal responsibility for self-monitoring and self-management. People should assess their own risk and comfort levels and then take appropriate action if they do not feel well.”
CTV News announced that Ontario Premier Doug Ford was set to consider new regulations to speed up the economic reopening timeline. Sources told CTV that the Ontario cabinet might consider the new measures.
In addition to the easing of public health restrictions, small businesses across Canada received some more good news with the announcement by the federal government that it would extend enhanced key support programs.
It announced it intends to expand access to the following programs:
Dan Kelly, who is a president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, announced that only 65 % of small businesses across the country are fully open, just 42 % are fully staffed and only 30 % are back to their pre-pandemic sales levels. He announced the federal government move gives many businesses the ability to plan for weeks ahead as they await the ending of all COVID restrictions.
- Travellers have to follow any provincial or territorial COVID-19 requirements. Foreign people still have to meet the entry requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and provide appropriate travel and immigration documents as required.
- Air carriers will no longer have to validate that all travellers have entered information in ArriveCAN before boarding.
- From October 1st, 2022, international travellers who came to Canada in the 14 days before October 1st, 2022, will no longer be required to complete the remainder of their quarantine or complete their COVID testing requirements and other measures.
- While international travellers will no longer submit their vaccination information through ArriveCAN, they are able to keep using the optional Advance Declaration feature in ArriveCAN (free as a mobile app or on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website) to save their time on the airport by submitting their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival.
- Nowadays, this feature is available to those who arrive at Toronto Pearson, Vancouver, or Montréal-Trudeau international airports and have the plan to expand to the Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City, and Halifax international airports in the future.
- Early data says that using the Advance CBSA Declaration in ArriveCAN saves a lot of time which a traveller spends at a kiosk by roughly one-third, and over 30 percent of all international travellers who arrive at the airports are already using it.
- The CBSA will keep making technology available at the border to speed up traveller entry and increase the safety and security level of Canadians. CBSA is exploring other optional ArriveCAN features to give international travellers with easier access to information, such as border wait times and other self-serve functions. This will be expanded to travellers by land, so they are able to make use of available technology to expedite and facilitate their travel.
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