Traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic has not been the easiest experience for many Canadians.
With border restrictions constantly changing, it was sometimes difficult to keep up. However, as summer approaches, many travel restrictions have decreased as COVID-19 activity subsides, which could make travel more attractive despite massive delays at airports and passport offices.
Ottawa has promised to fix these delays as the travel industry revitalizes after a two-year hibernation due to COVID-19.
Regardless, here’s what you need to know about Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions.
From June 20, unvaccinated Canadians can board a plane or commuter train in the country again.
Since October 30, 2021, those over 12 years of age who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 have been banned from boarding a plane or train, and most are no longer allowed to show a negative COVID-19 test as an alternative to being vaccinated.
Federal government drops vaccine mandates for Canadian travelers
Federal Liberals put the vaccine mandate in place last fall when the delta variant remained the dominant variant of the virus, and vaccines were more effective at preventing both transmission and infection than they are against the newer omicron variants.
Ottawa’s move on June 15 came as the efficacy of vaccine mandates faced questions in what could well be described as the era of Omicron – an elusive immune variant that has proven adept at infecting vaccinated people. However, vaccines remain effective in preventing severe disease.
COVID travel: Canada temporarily lifts random COVID testing
Meanwhile, Ottawa announced on June 10 that it would temporarily end random COVID-19 testing of vaccinated passengers at airports between June 11 and June 30. Unvaccinated travelers still have to be tested on site during that time.
Come July 1, random testing will be removed from Canadian airports and will be conducted at off-site locations for all travelers.
What has really changed this year?
When the COVID-19 situation began to improve in Canada and abroad earlier this year, the federal government moved to adjust its border restrictions that were tightened during the emergence of Omicron late last year.
Canada is seeing a rise in COVID-19 sub-variables. Could this lead to a sudden increase in summer?
Asexuality Isn’t ‘A Symptom’: Asexual Canadians Fight To Dispel Harmful Misconceptions
On February 15, the government announced that it would eliminate requirements for pre-entry PCR COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travelers. As of February 28, results of a negative rapid antigen test or PCR test have been accepted to meet entry requirements.
“Be patient” – what to expect while booking summer travel this year
However, come April 1, fully vaccinated travelers are no longer required to show evidence of any negative COVID-19 test upon entering Canada.
On April 25, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children aged 5-11 accompanied by a parent, stepfather, guardian or teacher will no longer be required to complete a pre-entry COVID-19 test to enter Canada as well. Travelers and fully vaccinated children aged 5 to 11 also no longer need to present a quarantine plan upon entry.
In addition, the federal government no longer requires fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada to wear masks in public, monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms, quarantine if another traveler in the same travel group exhibits signs or symptoms or tests positive, and maintain A list of your close contacts and visited sites.
‘Opening up to tourism again’ – Canada looks to recover as coronavirus-related travel rules ease
Despite the relaxation of travel rules, Ottawa has confirmed that it will be willing to reconsider them if the COVID-19 situation worsens.
“Today’s announcement is possible because Canadians have come forward to protect each other. We are now able to adjust our policy because we have consistently followed the best advice from public health authorities,” Dominique LeBlanc, Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, said on June 14.
“Our job as a national government has always been to keep Canadians safe. If things go wrong, we stand ready to bring back the policies needed to protect Canadians.”
While the lifting of travel restrictions has been making headlines, many still do.
Despite the revocation of the mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine, domestic travelers are still required to wear face masks on planes and interprovincial trains in Canada.
Fully vaccinated travelers coming to Canada from another country must still enter their vaccination guide and travel details into the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before boarding a plane, train or cruise ship.
Travel: Travel delays during the busy summer travel season
If travelers entering Canada are not immune, they will still be subject to testing and quarantine procedures.
Proof of a negative PCR or other molecular test within 72 hours of arrival in Canada, or a negative antigen test performed the previous day at a pharmacy, lab or other medical facility is required.
Unvaccinated Canadians must also self-quarantine for 14 days, and submit a plan for where they will isolate through the ArriveCAN app. Another COVID-19 test should be done on the eighth day of quarantine. Foreigners who are not eligible for full vaccination will be allowed entry under certain conditions only.
Cruise ship passengers and crew members will still need to be fully vaccinated.
Travel: Hot for summer travel
All passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must also provide evidence of a negative PCR or other molecular test within 72 hours of boarding, or a negative antigen test taken the day before at a pharmacy, lab or other medical facility.
This information must be submitted through the ArriveCAN App before boarding any cruise ship in Canada or a ship docking in Canada at any time during the voyage.
Despite the change in travel rules in Canada, the authorities are advising travelers to inform them of the COVID-19 rules in force at the destination they are traveling to prior to departure.
– With Flies by Sean Boynton and Irelyne Lavery
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.