Canada immigration news: Starting next month, fully-vaccinated travellers will be able to come into Canada without getting tested for COVID-19 – unless they are randomly chosen on arrival.
“Starting Apr, 1, Canada will no longer require fully-vaccinated travellers to provide a COVID-19 test to enter the country!” tweeted Transport Minister Omar Alghabra on Thursday.
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But partially or unvaccinated travellers who are five years of age or older will still need to provide proof of an accepted type of pre-entry COVID-19 test result before they can come into Canada.
- a valid, negative antigen test, administered or observed by an accredited lab or testing provider, taken outside of Canada no more than one day before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry;
- a valid negative molecular test taken no more than 72 hours before their initially scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry, or:
- a previous positive molecular test taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before their initially-scheduled flight departure time or their arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.
Positive antigen test results are not accepted.
All travellers, vaccinated or not, will still also need to submit their mandatory information through the ArriveCAN mobile app or website before their arrival in Canada.
Failure To Complete ArriveCAN Can Lead To COVID-19 Test
“Travellers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may have to test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status,” states Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on its website.
“Travellers taking a cruise or a plane must submit their information in ArriveCAN within 72 hours before boarding.”
On social media, Canadians mixed reactions to the announcement of the pending change in rules for incoming travellers.
While some greeted the easier access to Canada with enthusiasm, others worried the more relaxed regulations would allow fully-vaccinated but infected travellers into the country where they might spread the coronavirus.
Others questioned the wisdom of limiting unfettered access to Canada to the fully-vaccinated.
“So vaccinated people can carry COVID-19 over the borders and onto flights, yet a healthy unvaccinated person can’t,” tweeted one user. “How does that make sense?”
Others were more pointed in their view that the unvaccinated should also be allowed to enter the country without needing to take COVID-19 tests.
Twitters Users Want Same Rules For Unvaccinated Travellers
“All travellers are capable of transmitting COVID-19,” wrote another Twitter user. “End the pandemic charade. Lift the travel bans against unvaccinated Canadians.”
During an online press conference, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos left open the possibility that Canada’s travel restrictions could be either relaxed further or toughened up in the coming months depending on the number of cases of the illness and the possible arrival of new variants.
He expressed hope in the growing number of Canadians getting booster shots of the vaccine to prevent an increase in the number of cases.
“Adjustments to Canada’s border measures are made possible by a number of factors, including Canada’s high vaccination rate, the increasing availability and use of rapid tests to detect infection, decreasing hospitalizations and growing domestic availability of treatments for COVID-19,” said Duclos.
“As vaccination levels and healthcare system capacity improve, we will continue to consider further easing of measures at the borders-and when to adjust those measures-to keep the people in Canada safe.”
The relaxation of the restrictions at the Canadian border is expected to be a boon for the country’s tourism industry.
“After a challenging two years, we all want the Canadian economy, including the tourism sector, to rebound and grow,” said Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault.
“Thanks to all that Canadians have done to protect one another, we can now take the next step forward and remove testing requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers entering Canada. The economy, workers and tourism business owners will benefit from this next step in opening Canada up once again to the world.”
Canada Recognizes 8 Vaccines
In Canada, someone is considered to be fully vaccinated when they have received the full series of a combination these vaccines:
- Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty;
- Moderna Spikevax;
- AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/Covishield;
- Janssen/Johnson & Johnson;
- Bharat Biotech Covaxin;
- Sinopharm BIBP;
- Sinovac/CoronaVac/PiCoVacc, or;
Currently, the last dose of these vaccines has to have been received at least 14 days before a traveller comes to Canada.
Under the existing process which is in place until the end of this month, all travellers must provide proof of either a:
- negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken up to 72 hours before their scheduled flight to Canada, or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry or;
- a negative COVID-19 antigen test result, taken no more than one calendar day before their scheduled flight to Canada, or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry or;
- a positive COVID-19 molecular test result received in the previous 10 to 180 days before their scheduled flight to Canada, or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.
Fully-vaccinated travellers must also meet all other entry criteria, including:
- submitting all required COVID-19 information into ArriveCAN prior to travel (if arriving by air, information must be submitted before boarding a flight);
- being asymptomatic upon arrival;
- having a paper or digital copy of their proof of vaccination in English or French (or a certified translation), and;
- having a suitable quarantine plan, in case it is required.
Fully-vaccinated travellers coming from any country currently do not need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival unless elected for mandatory random testing which can be on-site at the airport, offsite, using a self-swab test kit at the border to take home.
Despite the removal of public health restrictions in many Canadian provinces, Ottawa is still encouraging Canadians to get vaccinated and boosted, use masks where appropriate, self-isolate if they have symptoms and self-test if they can.