canada border

Canada just finally got rid of mask mandates on planes and other travel restrictions

After recent reports that the Canadian government was considering doing away with travel restrictions like ArriveCAN, masking on planes, cruises and trains, and other pandemic-era travel and border measures, the feds have finally just made the big move official, to the joy of those who have been long complaining about them.

Ottawa announced Monday morning that as of October 1, passengers of all citizenships entering the country will no longer have to adhere to orders introduced due to the health crisis, some of which have been in place for more than two years.

Mandates to wear non-medical face coverings during travel; to fill out the ArriveCAN app upon arrival; to provide proof of vaccination against CV-19; to submit to random CV-19 testing; to quarantine if ordered; and to perform a health self-assessment before travel and monitor for symptoms after, are all set to expire on September 30 and will not be renewed.

While the vaccination requirement introduced in fall 2021 was dropped for Canadians on June 20, it has remained in place for foreign nationals. Random CV-19 testing, meanwhile, was paused at our four largest airports on June 11, but was then reintroduced just a few weeks later.

Officials are still urging residents to stay up-to-date with CV-19 boosters, and to stay home and avoid travel if they have any symptoms of the virus. Also, though face coverings are no longer obligatory, they are still strongly recommended.

"[CV-19] border measures were always meant to be temporary and we are making adjustments based on the current situation because that's what Canadians expect," Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino said in a press release on the topic today.

The release continued on to say that modelling shows that Canada is now past the most recent wave of the pandemic, and that current hospitalization and mortality rates, as well as vaccination rates, support these changes — changes that many other nations have already made.

Though people will no longer have to fill out health information via ArriveCAN, they can continue to use the app to submit an advanced customs declaration and expedite the arrivals process if they so wish.  

Residents, local politicians, health experts, and even the union representing border services agents and the authority that runs Toronto Pearson International Airport have been imploring the government to scale back CV-19 measures at border entry points that were contributing to the now notorious lineups and delays at our airports.

Hopefully this news will mean a speedier, smoother process for travellers and less chaos at travel hubs.

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