Canada dropping travel mask mandate and ending COVID-19 border and quarantine restrictions
Rachel Aiello, CTVNews.ca Online Politics Producer
OTTAWA - The federal government has announced it is dropping all COVID-19 border restrictions for anyone entering Canada, including: proof of COVID-19 vaccination, quarantine and isolation requirements as well as all pre- or on-arrival COVID-19 testing.
Canada is also making the ArriveCan application optional, and is lifting the mask mandate and health check requirements for travellers on planes and trains.
Declaring the imminent end of these restrictions—effective Oct. 1— marks a major milestone in Canada's pandemic response.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and other relevant ministers and public health officials are speaking to the doing away with pandemic precautions Monday morning in Ottawa.
Deciding to allow the special orders that for months have upheld Canada's special pandemic authorizations under the Quarantine Act to expire means:
- Foreign nationals won't need to be vaccinated to enter the country;
- Incoming travellers to major airports won't be subject to random mandatory COVID-19 tests;
- Unvaccinated Canadians will no longer have to isolate when they return;
- Travellers will not have to monitor or report if they develop COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival;
- Submitting public health information through the ArriveCan app prior to landing will become optional; and
- It'll no longer be mandatory to wear a face mask while travelling on planes or trains.
Cruise ship measures are also being lifted, though passenger and crew protection guidelines will remain to "align with the approach used in the United States."
The government says the removal of these border measures is the result of modelling indicating that Canada has "largely passed" the peak of the Omicron wave of infections; Canada's high vaccination and lower hospitalization and death rates; as well as the availability of boosters, rapid tests, and COVID-19 treatments.
Officials said that while Canada is lifting the mask mandate, travellers are still "strongly recommended" to wear high-quality and well-fitting masks and make "informed decisions" when travelling.
The government is reminding travellers that they should not do so if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and they will have to still follow any provincial or territorial requirements.
The government says that COVID-19 will remain one of the communicable diseases listed in the Quarantine Act, and travellers who are sick upon arrival in Canada are being asked to inform a staff member or border services officer, as they "may then be referred to a quarantine officer who will decide whether the traveller needs further medical assessment."
Foreign nationals will still be required to meet the entry requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and will have to provide appropriate travel and immigration documentation in order to be eligible to enter Canada.
This is a breaking news story. More to come…