As of October 1st, Canada will drop all COVID-19 restrictions for travelers, including vaccination and masking requirements for flights and trains.
While there was speculation of the move over the past week, the federal government made the official announcement Monday morning.
In a media release, Health Canada said that travellers will no longer have to provide proof of vaccination, undergo pre-arrival or on-arrival testing, and much more.
As of this Saturday, travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:
- Submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website
- Provide proof of vaccination
- Undergo pre- or on-arrival testing
- Carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation
- Monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada
- Undergo health checks for travel on air and rail
- Or wear masks on planes and trains
Although the masking requirement is being lifted, Health Canada is recommending all travellers to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their travel.
The measures also apply to cruise ships so passengers will no longer be required to take pre-board tests, be vaccinated or use ArriveCAN. A set of guidelines will remain to protect passengers and crew, which will align with the approach used in the United States.
“Air Canada welcomes the removal of these restrictions, acknowledging that air travel is safe and that the measures were not justified by science. We believe it will greatly facilitate travel, help to continue stabilizing the country’s air transport sector and support Canada’s economy. Customers and crew will still have the option to wear masks and we also encourage customers to monitor their own health to be sure they feel well and fit to travel,” said Craig Landry, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Air Canada.
It’s believed the change will boost the Canadian travel industry, which has already been booming after months of lull during the pandemic.
The ArriveCan app can still be used by travellers to submit customs declarations in advance at major airports.
“While today’s announcement is a positive step, we urge the government not to lose momentum. Lessons learned during the pandemic should now be applied to streamlining the air transport system in Canada and to enact further reforms. This includes improving processes, such as security and customs at airports, developing new trusted traveller programs, deploying new technologies and, more fundamentally, re-examining the user-pay model that finances air transportation in Canada, whose weaknesses and interdependencies were exposed by COVID,” said Landry.