Fully vaccinated Canadians will no longer require a pre-arrival PCR test when returning to Canada, as of February 28.
Travellers will still require a test to return, but a molecular test is no longer the gold standard. Cheaper antigen tests will be accepted. There will continue to be random PCR testing conducted at airports, but fully vaccinated travellers will not have to quarantine until results are available.
Fully vaccinated travellers will be able to use rapid antigen tests for their pre-arrival testing. The test will need to have been conducted within 24 hours of travel.
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Parents itching to travel will be happy to know that children under the age of 12 who are not fully vaccinated will no longer need to isolate for 14 days upon returning to Canada if they were travelling with a fully vaccinated parent.
The federal government is also lifting the non-essential travel advisory that was put in place in December as the Omicron variant took hold.
“I want to underscore that Canadians still exercise caution when travelling abroad. There is still the real risk of becoming sick or stranded while abroad and having to extend their trip or find themselves in need of medical assistance should they test positive for COVID-19 while travelling abroad,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.
Unvaccinated travellers will be required to be tested upon arrival and will have to quarantine for 14 days.
“Let me be clear; our fight against the virus is not over,” said Duclos. “As we have seen over the last two years, COVID-19 does not follow a predictable path.”
He emphasized that while today’s news is good, restrictions could need to be reintroduced if there are new variants or waves of COVID-19.