At long last, the light at the end of the tunnel is here in terms of Canada’s onerous travel restrictions.
April 1, 2022 marks the first day that all testing requirements for entering Canada are removed. That’s right – soon, we’ll be able to freely return to Canada just like pre-pandemic times.
No More Pre-Arrival Tests
The Government of Canada has announced that as of April 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to show a negative COVID-19 prior to their scheduled departure in Canada. This will apply to both the air and land borders.
Currently, travellers to Canada have two choices of pre-arrival tests. They can either administer a molecular test within 72 hours of the direct flight to Canada, or a rapid antigen test within a day of departure. Travellers can make the choice depending on which is more convenient and accessible.
Since this new policy was implemented early March, I would assume that most travellers gravitated towards the rapid antigen tests, as they are guaranteed to return results within half an hour and are also much cheaper. The Switch Health Antigen Test Kits work perfectly for this purpose.
The amazing news now is that a test will soon no longer be required at all, and we can simply enter the country after filling out our ArriveCAN form.
The End of Canada’s Travel Restrictions?
While accepting antigen tests marks a major leap forward to Canada’s travel restrictions, I dare say that removing the pre-arrival test requirement truly marks an end to Canada’s travel restrictions.
(Sure, pre-arrival testing wasn’t required prior to the policy being implemented in January 2021, but don’t forget that we had a very restrictive policy of a 14-day mandatory quarantine upon return in place back then.)
This marks the end of an era, and in our cyclical world of travel restrictions coming and going, it’s as close as a return to “normal times” as we could’ve hoped for.
Removing the pre-arrival test requirement altogether is a major change, and one that will be hard for Canada to backtrack from.
I expect this to stick around through the summer and fall, and hopefully permanently, as our strong vaccination rates and immunity from past infections are expected to offer greater protection from future waves.
Removing the test requirement is a reasonable move at this time, as COVID-19 rates around most parts of the world are dropping as the Omicron variant recedes. If the risk of catching COVID is the same in many places as here in Canada, continuing to police the border makes very little sense.
Keep in mind that on-arrival will continue on a randomized basis, which ought to be a sufficient measure since the positivity rate at the border has been very low.
With no test required prior to arrival, leaving the country becomes viable for even more conservative travellers, as there is no risk of testing positive and being stuck abroad. This eliminates one of the biggest potential risks of international travel.
Of course, despite Canada removing the pre-arrival testing requirement, it’s still important to pay attention to what your airline and your transit destinations require, as they might still require you to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel.
Spring really does mean a season of new beginnings, as the changes in the travel landscape have been trending extremely positively. Many countries are now allowing visitors once again, and now, Canada has finally announced the removal of its onerous pre-arrival testing requirement.
Beginning April 1, 2022, all Canadian air travellers returning from an international destination will no longer be required to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to the departure of their final flight to Canada or arrival at the land border.
With that comes lower expenses, less hassle, and one less thing to worry about along your travels, as you no longer have to take a test and risk being stuck abroad if you test positive.
As the Omicron variant continues to dwindle, we have all the more reason to remain positive about the state of travel in 2022, as we’re already off to a spectacular start.