UPDATE: In a social media post, ACTA advises that it has received clarification from the Government of Canada that fully-vaccinated travellers can take a rapid antigen test conducted anytime on the day of or before travel (similar to USA). This corrects the previous announcement of “within 24 hours.”
The change is effective February 28.
With recent data indicating that the latest wave of COVID-19 — driven by the Omicron variant — has passed its peak in Canada, the federal government has rolled out some changes to its current border measures that take effect at the end of February.
As reported in a Feb. 15 Press Today Breaking News, beginning Feb. 28, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. EST, the federal government will be easing the on-arrival testing for fully-vaccinated travellers.
That change means travellers arriving to Canada from any country, who qualify as fully vaccinated, will be randomly selected for arrival testing. Travellers selected will also no longer be required to quarantine while awaiting their test result.
As well, children under 12 years old, travelling with fully vaccinated adults, will continue to be exempt from quarantine, without any prescribed conditions limiting their activities. This means, for example, they no longer need to wait 14 days before attending school, camp or daycare.
However, unvaccinated travellers will continue to be required to test on arrival, on Day 8 and quarantine for 14 days. Unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be permitted to enter Canada unless they meet one of the few exemptions.
Rapid Antigen or PCR
Travellers will now have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) or a molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) to meet pre-entry requirements.
Taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient to meet the pre-entry requirement – it must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service.
The federal government is also adjusting its Travel Health Notice from a Level 3 to a Level 2. This means that the Government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes.
But officials continue to warn that travellers should understand the risks that are still associated with international travel given the high incidence of Omicron, and take necessary precautions.
Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos said in making the announcement that: “For two years now, our government’s actions in the fight against COVID-19 have been based on prudence and science. Today’s announcements are a reflection of the progress we have made against this current Omicron variant. The return to mandatory random testing of all vaccinated travellers will facilitate travel for Canadians all while helping our public health authorities to detect future changes in COVID-19 importation rates and variants of concern. As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, for potential future scenarios.”
Also coming into effect on Feb. 28, 2022 at 16:00 EST, Transport Canada’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricts where international passenger flights can arrive in Canada will expire. This means that international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at all remaining Canadian airports that are designated by the Canada Border Services Agency to receive international passenger flights.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that: “The measures we are announcing today are possible in part because Canadians have stepped up, rolled up their sleeves and gotten vaccinated. These measures will allow vaccinated Canadians to once again reunite with family and friends and reap the economic benefit that travel provides. We will continue to evaluate our measures and will not hesitate to make necessary adjustments to keep Canadians and our transportation system safe.”
Tourism Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Randy Boissonnault said that: “We are committed to a safe reopening; one that provides predictability, flexibility and shows the world that Canada is one of the safest places to travel. Travel is safe and will continue to be safe in Canada. Thank you to the tourism industry that has been a leader around the world in ensuring the safety of travellers while weathering one of the most challenging economic crisis. Let me be clear that the Canadian economy will not fully recover until our tourism sector recovers and today’s measures will help us safely welcome visitors to Canada.”