After two long years of some of the strictest entry rules worldwide, Canada is finally removing its testing for entry requirement. As of April 1, 2022, the federal government will get rid of pre-arrival testing requirements for vaccinated travelers to enter Canada.
Up until April 1st, travelers need to show proof of a negative antigen or PCR test within a day of their flight or their arrival at the border by car or boat. Some travelers may still be subjected to random PCR testing at the airport in order to track the movement of new COVID variants.
Once the new test-free rules come into effect on April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated passengers will no longer need to show proof of a negative antigen or PCR test prior to boarding their flight. The ArriveCan app will still need to be used, as well as random testing on arrival happening at select airports.
Mounting Pressure From The Tourism Industry
Last month Toronto Pearson Airport, WestJet, and Air Canada teamed up and argued that the testing of asymptomatic travelers was wasteful and that the tests should be diverted to people who need it the most. They cited the fact that just 1.08% of fully vaccinated arrivals tested positive. Some Provinces have had to restrict testing to those with symptoms to address the shortages.
Testing Costs Money
The Canadian government has spent over a billion dollars testing arrivals at their airports since the beginning of the pandemic and some taxpayers are questioning if all of this testing has been worth it.
It’s not just the government that’s spending a lot of money, but travelers as well. PCR-type tests are expensive and can range anywhere from $80 to $250 for individuals and antigen tests can still get as high as $100.
Citizens of the United States make up the biggest group of tourists to Canada. Imagine needing to pay for a test to enter Canada, then a few days later need to pay for another test to re-enter the USA. Not only is it expensive, but it’s a substantial barrier to travel.
The Domino Effect
Canada’s move here is HUGE and hopefully has a ripple effect on their neighbors to the south. The US is still requiring a negative antigen test taken one day prior to departing for the border, even for fully vaccinated passengers.
The removal of testing requirements has been dropping all over the globe, with over 10 countries removing all covid-related rules, including showing proof of vaccination, just in the last 2 weeks.
What About Unvaccinated Travelers?
The government’s vaccine mandate for domestic and international flights departing from Canada, for VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, and for cruise ships will remain in effect. Unvaccinated foreign nationals are still not permitted entry into Canada for tourism. Only unvaccinated Canadian citizens and residents can enter, with much stricter rules applying.
Canada has also decided to keep the domestic and outbound vaccine requirements in place. Canadians still have to show proof of being fully vaccinated in order to board a domestic flight or train, or even to fly abroad on vacation, even if the destination country has no entry requirements.
Canada’s Tourism Industry Needs A Good Summer
Canada’s tourism industry, like others, was decimated due to the pandemic and heavy-handed government restrictions. Government financial support can only help so much, many of these businesses need patrons to survive. In 2020, tourism gross domestic product was down 47.9% annually, while economy-wide, GDP fell at just -5.4%. This could be the first opportunity in two years for the Canadian tourism industry to see some recovery and hopefully, growth.
This puts Canada in line with many other nations that have also removed testing for fully vaccinated tourists, like Sweden, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.
To summarize the new rules for entering Canada as of April 1st, 2022, assuming you are fully vaccinated, are:
- Proof of vaccination
- Uploading vaccination proof to ArriveCan App
- Potential random PCR test on arrival, no quarantine needed while awaiting results
This is great news for the Canadian travel industry and is in line with current global travel trends.
WestJet and Air Canada have both ramped up their flights to the U.S. and Europe, reinstating old popular routes and even adding some brand new destinations to their flight schedules.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories