The Government of Canada has shared that recent data indicates that the latest wave of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant has passed its peak in Canada. As provinces and territories adjust their public health measures, and the country transitions away from the crisis phase, they are now moving towards a more sustainable approach to long-term management of COVID-19.
“We are committed to a safe reopening; one that provides predictability, flexibility and shows the world that Canada is one of the safest places to travel, says The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism and associate minister of finance, in a press statement. “Travel is safe and will continue to be safe in Canada. Thank you to the tourism industry that has been a leader around the world in ensuring the safety of travelers while weathering one of the most challenging economic crisis. Let me be clear that the Canadian economy will not fully recover until our tourism sector recovers and today’s measures will help us safely welcome visitors to Canada.”
This transition is possible due to a number of factors, including Canada’s high vaccination rates, the increasing availability and use of rapid tests to detect infection, decreasing hospitalization rates and the growing domestic availability of therapeutics and treatments.
“For two years now, our government’s actions in the fight against COVID-19 have been based on prudence and science.The return to mandatory random testing of all vaccinated travelers will facilitate travel for Canadians all while helping our public health authorities to detect future changes in COVID-19 importation rates and variants of concern. As we have said all along, Canada’s border measures will remain flexible and adaptable, for potential future scenarios,” says the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of health.
The Government of Canada announced a series of adjustments to the current border measures, representing the beginning of a phased easing of travel restrictions.
As of Feb. 28, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. EST:
- Canada will be easing the on-arrival testing for fully-vaccinated travelers. This means that travelers arriving to Canada from any country, who qualify as fully vaccinated, will be randomly selected for arrival testing. Travelers selected will also no longer be required to quarantine while awaiting their test result.
- Children under 12 years old, traveling with fully vaccinated adults, will continue to be exempt from quarantine, without any prescribed conditions limiting their activities. This means, for example, they no longer need to wait 14 days before attending school, camp or daycare.
- Unvaccinated travelers will continue to be required to test on arrival, on Day 8 and quarantine for 14 days. Unvaccinated foreign nationals will not be permitted to enter Canada unless they meet one of the few exemptions.
- Travelers will now have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) or a molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) to meet pre-entry requirements. Taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient to meet the pre-entry requirement—it must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service.
- The Government of Canada will adjust its Travel Health Notice from a Level 3 to a Level 2. This means that the government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes.
- On February 28, 2022 at 16:00 EST, Transport Canada’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that restricts where international passenger flights can arrive in Canada will expire. This means that international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at all remaining Canadian airports that are designated by the Canada Border Services Agency to receive international passenger flights.
Advisors, when booking your clients, you should check if they are eligible to enter Canada and meet all entry requirements before heading to the border. In addition, some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place. Check and follow both the federal and any provincial or territorial restrictions and requirements before travelling to Canada.
For those travelers opting to prove a previous COVID-19 infection, the Government of Canada will continue to only accept molecular test results, taken at least 10 calendar days and no more than 180 calendar days before entering Canada.
For more information, visit canada.ca/en/public-health.