Canada travel rules change due to Covid-19 this weekend — here are reasons Americans might be disappointed

WWith summer’s official arrival fast approaching, it’s even easier to get back home after a trip to Canada. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dropped requirements for pre-arrival Covid testing for air travelers arriving in the United States. This means that returning Canadian and American visitors do not have to prove negative for the Covid virus in order to board a flight to the United States.

This week, the Canadian government announced a change of its own. From Monday, June 20, travelers over the age of 12 will not be required to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before boarding a plane or train in Canada.

The problem is that this rule applies to domestic travel within Canada, but not to entry into the country. For Americans visiting Canada, nothing fundamental has changed.

More from ForbesCanada’s Covid-19 entry rules change (again) today

Everyone entering Canada must still download the ArriveCAN app and complete the survey within 72 hours of arrival. Vaccinated travelers must upload proof of vaccination to the app prior to arrival, while unvaccinated Americans and returning Canadians are required to self-quarantine. Travelers are considered fully vaccinated when they receive at least two doses of the accepted Covid-19 vaccine.

For travel within Canada, masks are still required on planes, trains and other public transportation.

Like their US counterparts, Canada’s tourism industry officials have pushed the government to remove all friction and restrictions that they say are driving down visitor numbers. “Despite this month’s increase in the number of US residents making trips to Canada via land ports, the number of trips remains at half (50.8%) of the US population who arrived by car during the same month in 2019,” The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) said in a statement.

The main contention has been the ArriveCAN app, which launched in April 2020 primarily as a contact tracing app, and has been used throughout the pandemic, primarily by Canadian travelers, to report mandatory travel, contact and quarantine information when they re-enter the country. Since the borders reopened to Americans last summer, American travelers have been required to use the ArriveCAN app when entering Canada.

Tourism officials say requiring travelers to use the ArriveCAN app is stifling tourism, but the Canadian government says the app doesn’t work anywhere for now.

More from ForbesMeet ArriveCAN: How to Use Your Canadian Vaccine Passport When Borders Finally Reopen

Using the ArriveCAN app is relatively quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes to complete. Passengers can download the app and start entering their information within 72 hours of their arrival. Those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 can use their smartphone camera to scan a vaccination history card or proof of previous infection, or they can enter their information manually in the app or on the website. Once the traveler completes entering their information, the ArriveCAN app provides a receipt with a QR code that must appear at the Canadian border.

The Covid vaccination rate is a few percentage points higher in Canada than in the United States. More than eight in 10 Canadians (81.7%) have been fully vaccinated, and more than half (55.5%) of those over 12 have received a booster shot, according to the Canadian government’s Vaccine Tracker. By comparison, 78.1% of the total US population is fully vaccinated, and less than half of those (48.8%) (48.8%) of them have received a booster dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But on the bleaker metrics, the gap is huge. Canada has recorded less than 42,000 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, while the United States has passed 1 million deaths from the disease.

In another measure, the two states are more consistent. Canada currently has a Level 3 travel health advisory from the CDC, indicating ‘high’ Covid-19 levels – just like the US

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