Following over a year of advocacy by ACTA and the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, the Government of Canada announced Feb. 15th that the pre-departure molecular (PCR) testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers would be removed effective Feb. 28, 2022.
Fully vaccinated travellers may now use a negative rapid antigen test one day before their departure time or arrival at the land border. The test must be administered by a telehealth service, laboratory, or healthcare professional.
Travellers may still use a molecular test within 72 hours of travel or furnish proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada. There is no change or easing of rules for unvaccinated travellers.
ACTA president, Wendy Paradis said: “While ACTA welcomes this change as an important step forward, we urge the government to lift all pre-departure testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers. Rapid antigen tests are an additional cost and often difficult to procure. All testing requirements create uncertainty and deter travel. There is no scientific basis to single-out travel for testing.”
In other changes, unvaccinated children under 12 will no longer need to isolate when travelling with fully-vaccinated adults as of Feb. 28. This means eligible children returning from vacation may attend school, daycare, and other functions immediately upon arrival.
Canada is also lifting the mandatory arrival testing and quarantine requirement put in place early on in the Omicron wave, reverting to random surveillance testing effective February 28.
As well, the global blanket travel advisory against all non-essential travel outside Canada will be eased for fully vaccinated travellers.
Said Paradis: “This is an important change for the travel industry and also affects the availability of travel insurance. ACTA has been asking that the advisory revert to country specific.”
ACTA is working to confirm whether the advisory against all cruise travel abroad will ease in the coming days or weeks.
Also, effective Feb. 28, all airports nationally are permitted to receive international flights.
Paradis said: “This is great news for Canada’s inbound and outbound travel and tourism industry.”
And she added: “Today’s changes are important milestones for travel agencies and independent travel agents.”
ACTA’s advocacy on borders continues, as it urges the federal government to lift the cruise advisory and further ease the pre-departure rapid antigen testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers.