Canada entry requirements: have Covid vaccination rules for UK visitors changed? Mask restrictions explained
The Canadian government is relaxing the country’s remaining Covid border restrictions
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The ArriveCan app, which is used to upload health documents when entering Canada will also become optional, and the mandate that required face masks to be worn on planes and trains will no longer be in force.
When will the new rules take effect?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has agreed to let a cabinet order enforcing mandatory Covid vaccination requirements at the border expire on 30 September.
It means that from 1 October, travellers arriving in Canada from the UK will not have to show proof of Covid vaccination, or a negative test.
The government is also ending random Covid testing at airports. as well as quarantine rules.
The face mask mandate on planes and trains will also lift from this date, but travellers are still "strongly recommended" to wear masks and make "informed decisions" when travelling.
Filling out health information in what became an unpopular ArriveCan app will also no longer be required from 1 October, with some blaming it for delays at airports.
Additionally, passengers will no longer have to take pre-board tests for cruise ships, the government has confirmed. However, passenger and crew protection guidelines will remain to “align with the approach used in the United States”.
What are the current entry rules?
Canada, like the United States, currently still requires foreign nationals to be vaccinated when entering the country. No change in the mandate is expected in the US in the near future.
Travellers arriving in Canada before 1 October must be fully vaccinated to enter the country. To qualify as fully vaccinated, you must have received at least two doses of a vaccine accepted for travel.
The second vaccine dose must have been received at least 14 calendar days before entering Canada and travellers must have no signs or symptoms of coronavirus.
Foreign nationals who do not qualify as fully vaccinated can only enter Canada in specific circumstances and are subject to mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine under current rules.
Why is Canada relaxing its Covid rules?
Federal health minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in an announcement on Monday (26 September) that Canada is "in a much better position" than it was earlier in the pandemic, in part due to availability of Covid vaccines and treatment options.
The country’s high vaccination rate - with around 82% of the population having received two doses - and a falling death rate are also factors in the rule change.
The government said in a statement: “The removal of border measures has been facilitated by a number of factors, including modelling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4- and BA.5-fuelled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for Covid-19.”