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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Canada will no longer impose any airline mask requirements or other pandemic travel restrictions

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From October 1, there will no longer be any travel restrictions related to the pandemic, according to Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, “thanks largely to Canadians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated,”

In recent months, Canada’s attitude to COVID-19 at the border had significantly diverged from the norm. All foreign visitors had to be completely immunized, every traveler had to complete paperwork on Canada’s ArriveCAN app, random testing upon arrival was mandated, and the mask requirement is still in effect.

But starting on October 1, all of those measures will be dropped at once. Several Canadian media sites broke the news of the decision last week, but the government didn’t officially announce the changes until Monday.

“Thanks largely to Canadians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, we have reached the point where we can safely lift the sanitary measures at the border,” commented Duclos on Monday.

“However, we expect COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses will continue to circulate over the cold months, so I encourage everyone to stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses and exercise individual public health measures,” Duclos continued.

Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra insisted that the long-running measures had “successfully mitigated the full impact of COVID-19 for travelers and workers in the transportation sector, and helped keep communities safe”.

Beginning on October 1, all visitors to Canada won’t need to:

  • Complete a health declaration on the ArriveCAN app or website.
  • Provide proof of vaccination
  • Undergo any form of pre-departure or post-arrival COVID testing
  • Undergo quarantine or isolation
  • Monitor for symptoms
  • Wear a face mask on planes or trains

Nevertheless, visitors should be informed that COVID-19 is still recognized as a communicable disease in Canada’s Quarantine Act, and a quarantine officer may force someone into quarantine if they become ill while traveling there.

When the Canadian government abandoned required random testing earlier this year, the tourism industry reacted negatively, but a few months later, in response to the appearance of the BA.5 Omicron variation, the government reinstated it.

In an effort to stop the virus’ spread, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had accused Canada of “throwing red tape at the pandemic.” In July, IATA demanded that Canada remove its travel restrictions.

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