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 as Canada transitions away from the crisis phase, it works on moving towards a more sustainable approach to long-term management of COVID-19.
“The health and safety of Canadians is our government’s top priority. Since the onset of this pandemic, we have taken practical and necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19—and as the situation evolves, so does our response. I especially want to thank Canada Border Services Agency employees for their tireless work over the past two years. We always take action to secure our borders and protect our communities, because that’s what Canadians expect,” said The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino minister of public safety, in a press statement.
This transition is possible because of 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 growing domestic availability of therapeutics and treatments.
Today, the Government of Canada announced a series of adjustments to the current border measures, representing the beginning of a phased easing of travel restrictions. The ability of the country to transition to a new phase at the border is a result of the actions of tens of millions of Canadians across the country who followed public health measures.
“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. 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,” said The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism and associate minister of Finance, in a press statement.
As of Feb. 28, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. EST the new protocols will be:
- 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.
- Travelers should understand the risks that are still associated with international travel given the high incidence of Omicron, and take necessary precautions.
- On Feb. 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.
For more information, visit travel.gc.ca.