Do you plan on leaving Canada in the next few months? These pandemic travel restrictions are changing

Vaccinated travellers will soon be allowed to use COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, "travellers will 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.” (Unsplash) 

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced that Canada will make a series of adjustments to the current border measures as of Feb. 28. Here are some of the changes you should be aware of if you plan to enter or leave the country in the coming months.

According to a press release from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the first measure will be the elimination of pre-arrival COVID-19 PCR testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

People arriving in Canada from any country who qualify as fully vaccinated will continue to be randomly selected for arrival testing. However, according to PHAC, those selected will no longer have to be quarantined while awaiting test results.s

At this time, all travellers over five years of age must provide a molecular test upon arrival. In addition, persons selected for mandatory random arrival testing must be quarantined in a suitable location until they receive a negative result.

What kind of COVID-19 test will you need?

Another change announced by the Public Health Agency of Canada is that “travellers will 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.”

However, the agency emphasized that taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient to meet the pre-entry requirement. “The test must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, health entity or telehealth service,” it said in a statement.

Travellers may also continue to submit a PCR test, if they prefer. In this case, the test must be done no later than 72 hours prior to flight or arrival in Canada.

Children under 12 years of age traveling with fully vaccinated adults will be exempt from quarantine. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, “they do not need to wait 14 days before attending school, camp or daycare.”

Who can travel?

The government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes. 

“Travellers should understand the risks still associated with international travel given the high incidence of Omicron and take the necessary precautions,” reads the press release.

Unvaccinated travellers will still be required to be tested upon arrival on Day 8 and must remain in quarantine for 14 days. Likewise, unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be allowed to enter Canada unless they meet one of the few exemptions.

What remains the same?

According to Canada’s official government website, those who can continue to enter the country are fully vaccinated foreign nationals, Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada or protected persons (refugee status) and fully vaccinated travellers.

Duclos that the changes are the result of progress Canada has made against the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“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,” he said in the press release.

He also referred to the benefits that the measures will bring in the future: “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,” he added.

What do you absolutely need to know?

  • You must verify if you are eligible to enter Canada. You must meet all entry requirements before going to the border.
  • Some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions, so it is important that you check them before travel.
  • All travellers, regardless of how long they have been outside of Canada, must submit their information through the ArriveCAN application.
  • The government of Canada will continue to accept only molecular test results taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days prior to entering Canada.
  • You should plan for the availability of medical services in the country where you are going, and the potential costs associated with medical treatment and the extension of your travel, just in case you test positive for COVID-19 while you are abroad. 
  • You should be aware that border measures may change while you are abroad. It is important that you periodically review entry requirements and exemptions for your travel status.
  • Finally, don’t forget to wear your mask where appropriate.

About this article

Posted: Feb 21 2022 10:20 pm
Filed under: COVID-19 News