The Canadian government is dropping its COVID-19 border measures for all travellers from October 1, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced on Monday. Foreign travellers will no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination or test on arrival. Quarantine policies for arriving travellers will also be scrapped. “We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said.
More than 90 per cent of Canadians over 12 have been vaccinated. Mask mandates will be lifted on trains and planes. The government would also no longer require passengers to have pre-board tests for cruise ships.
The health minister said the government was prepared to reinstate restrictions if needed. “Obviously we have no hope to reintroduce some of these measures, but, if we need to protect the safety of Canadians, we will have to,” The country has passed the peak of omicron infections, and the aviation and travel industries have been pushing the government to relax the rules.
Most European countries, including Germany, dropped entry requirements related to the coronavirus before the summer travel season began.
The United States still requires foreign nationals to be vaccinated when entering the country. No change in the mandate was expected in the US in the near term.
Earlier this year, cross-border truckers organized a “Freedom Convoy” against vaccine mandates in Canada. The horn-blaring demonstrators targeted the Canadian capital city, Ottawa, and other parts of the country, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoking emergency powers to quell the protests.