More positive news for Canadian travelers who are planning short trips away from home – a source says soon Canadian residents won’t have to present a PCR when returning if it’s been less than 72 hours.
Canada Dropping PCR Test For Residents Returning Home From Short Trips
According to a source, soon fully vaccinated Canadian residents taking short trips abroad (defined as 72 hours or less) will no longer need to show proof of negative PCR test to get back into the country.
While Canada has made great improvements in facilitating international travel by dropping the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers, reopening its borders, lifting the travel advisory, and creating a vaccine passport that Canadians can use to travel abroad, they are still facing mounting pressure to drop the requirement to show proof of a negative PCR Covid-19 test.
But this will soon change, at least for Canadians and permanent residents.
“We are looking at making steps to loosen up requirements while at the same time keeping Canadians safe,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening.
“We will have an announcement to make in the coming days.”
This is good news for Canadian travelers who plan to go to to the U.S. to do holiday shopping, as the government is expected to make the official announcement on Friday and the change is expected to come into effect at the end of the month or early December.
“We are very happy to hear that the PCR testing rules that were in place for short visits will no longer apply for those who want to travel to the United States for a day or two,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan in a Wednesday press conference.
Any trips longer than 72 hours outside of Canada will still need a negative PCR test upon return, and it does not apply to U.S. or other international travelers coming to Canada.
Industry Pushing For Similar Requirements On U.S.-Canada Border
The U.S. land border recently opened up to Canadians, but mainly attracted snowbirds and those traveling for longer periods of time, as the added cost of a PCR test wasn’t worth it for a weekend trip.
U.S. businesses told Global News the reopening of the land border did not bring the flood of Canadian visitors they hoped, blaming the PCR test requirement as a barrier.
Some travelers have reported paying bettween $150 and $300 for a test, depending on their point of departure.
The U.S. does not have a testing requirement for vaccinated travelers to cross the land border, and only requires an antigen test to enter the country via air which is considerable cheaper, and faster, then a PCR test.
U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins, whose district includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, called on the Canadian and U.S. government to develop a consistent approach for travelers on both sides of the border.
“The fractured approach to border management by both the U.S. and Canadian governments is contributing to public confusion, anger and frankly, it makes no sense,” Higgins said in a media statement.
More Changes Could Come Soon
According to Higgins, the Canadian government said during a meeting that it will introduce a multi-phase plan to ease testing measures at the border.
Eliminating the PCR testing requirement for Canadians and permanent residents away for fewer than 72 hours is the first phase of the plan, and it will be followed by more changes for U.S. citizens and other travelers.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO Perrin Beatty has been advocating to scrap the PCR requirement entirely, arguing it is not necessary with proof of vaccination.
“Anything that reduces the level of requirement here is good, so it’s a step forward,” Beatty said.
“What it does is to get rid of one absurdity. But it leaves in place another absurdity. And that is the expert task force, when they looked at it, said the decisions on the border should be based on vaccination status.”
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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