Ready for some good news? By all accounts, recent data analysis indicates that this latest COVID-19 wave, which was largely driven by the Omicron variant, has peaked in Canada and case numbers have sharply declined. Ottawa has noticed and responded by announcing the lifting of a few travel restrictions that have been in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on medical and government resources.

Change to COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Entering Canada

On February 15, 2022, Canada's Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, announced that Canada will be rolling back pandemic related travel restrictions, including a change in COVID-19 testing requirements for entry to Canada for certain travellers. Beginning February 28, 2022, individuals entering Canada who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, will no longer be required to obtain a PCR/molecular COVID-19 test prior to travel. 

Instead of a PCR/molecular test, travellers will now have the following options:

  • A rapid antigen test result taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry; or
  • A molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry) to meet pre-entry requirements. 

Furthermore, fully vaccinated travellers who are randomly selected for COVID-19 testing upon arrival in Canada will no longer be required to quarantine while awaiting their test results.

Lifting Current Travel Advisory

In addition to the measure above, Minster Duclos announced plans to lift the government's current advisory against non-essential travel, which was last extended in November 2021.

Minister Duclos also indicated that should conditions continue to improve, additional restrictions could be lifted, including testing requirements for Canadian visiting the United States for short trips. As always, stay tuned for the latest from the MPC immigration team as we closely monitor these restrictions and other significant changes in Canadian and US immigration.

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