Business group pushes back on mandatory COVID-19 testing for travellers returning Canada

The United States land border crossings will reopen to Canadians in days and while America will not require those who are fully vaccinated to provide a negative test at entry, Canada has not followed suit.

Now, there is a push from businesses and travellers to eliminate what they say is an unnecessary and expensive step for travel.

Perrin Beatty, the head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says that having to provide an expensive PCR test result in order for fully vaccinated travellers to enter Canada is irrational and does not make sense.

"Other countries recognize this and the United States is doing this as well and they changed their rules," says Perrin.

"It particularly makes no sense when for instance you and I if we were going out for a trip that is less than 72 hours could do our test here at the local pharmacy before ever leaving Canada what would that tell you about what the individual had done while they were away and whether they posed a threat."

To enter Canada, all travellers over the age of five, no matter their vaccination status must provide a negative molecular COVID-19 test, like a PCR test.

The test can take time to get the results, and cost as much as $300. An added expense that many families cannot afford.

Beatty says the test should be used for travellers coming to Canada in areas where COVID is surging as opposed to a blanket rule for those who are vaccinated.

"Our goal should be science-based and health-based," he says. "To ensure that to the greatest extent possible Canadians are able to get on with their lives and we reopen our economy while maintaining the safety of all Canadians."

A rapid antigen test is still required if entering the U.S. by air, and must be provided within three days of leaving. Tests cost around $20 and the results are provided in minutes.