The federal government says it dropped all COVID-19 measures at the border on Saturday, which means travelers will no longer need to provide proof of vaccination when entering Canada or wear masks on planes and trains.
From October 1, all travelers, regardless of nationality, will not have to:
- Submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website;
- provide evidence of vaccination;
- undergo a pre-arrival or on-arrival test;
- conducting quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19;
- Monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival in Canada;
- undergo medical examinations for air and rail travel;
- Or wear masks on planes and trains.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Monday’s decision was not a sign of Canada’s exit from the pandemic, but said government data showed that importing new species no longer had an impact on the development of the virus in the country.
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“If anyone thinks the epidemic is over, I invite them to visit the hospital,” he said.
“This decision was again driven by the evidence that we have seen over the past few weeks and months, which is that the transmission and cost of transmission of COVID-19 to our healthcare workers and hospitals, including patients, who have seen a backlog of their surgeries and treatments over the past two and a half years …it is now almost entirely driven by the local transmission of COVID-19. This is where we need to invest our energy.”
The procedures also apply to cruise ships, so passengers will no longer be required to undergo pre-screening tests on board, be vaccinated, or use ArriveCAN. The government said the guidelines would remain in place to protect passengers and crew, in line with the United States.
The move comes after lawmakers and mayors of border cities published an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden last week asking for an end to “non-essential” rules at the border, a move they say will allow border communities to recover economically. from the epidemic.
The mayor of Niagara Falls, Jim Deodati, said Monday that he is glad the federal government is abandoning all pandemic border measures, but fears that American tourists will continue to bypass Canada in the future.
“This should have happened at the start of the tourist season,” he said. “We’ve been devastated here in Niagara Falls.”
“A lot of travelers decided to go somewhere else last summer. Our concern is that they enjoyed it and want to continue it.”
The Canadian Airports Council chief said the organization is relieved to know that its members can return to normal business.
“The aviation industry has been severely affected over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been forced to operate under a complex and ever-changing series of restrictions and regulations for more than two years,” President Monette Pacher said in a media statement.
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These concerns also influenced the government’s decision to lift the measures, Duclos said.
“In making these decisions, we are aware of the challenges and cost that the border communities have faced over the past few weeks and months. It has been difficult for them,” he said.
“My colleagues and all the members of our congregation felt it and listened to them.”
The health minister has not ruled out reimposing restrictions if they are needed to keep Canadians safe.
Masks are still recommended: Njoo
While masks will not be mandatory soon, Dr Howard Ngo, Canada’s deputy chief health officer, said he still recommends people wear masks on planes and trains.
“The science is clear: wearing a mask is clearly a very effective personal protection method,” he said.
“I hope Canadians will make an informed decision on this.”
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Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the ArriveCan app can still be used by travelers to file customs declarations in advance at major airports. This option is available at the international airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but there are plans to expand to airports in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax and Toronto’s Billy Bishop.
The government also said that the Canada Border Services Agency is looking into adding features to ArriveCan, such as wait times at the border.
Conservative leader Pierre Boliever was quick to say the decision was a victory.
“After constant pressure from conservatives [and] People across Canada, Trudeau Liberals are finally backing off disastrous ArriveCAN implementation, unscientific vaccine mandates and forced mask wearing,” he said on Twitter on Monday.
“None of the science changes on October 1st but because of you, Trudeau has to. Let’s keep it going.”
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