Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada put in place emergency border measures to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of concern in Canada related to international travel.
The first COVID-19 Emergency Order in Council (OIC) pursuant to section 58 of the Quarantine Act “Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order” came into force on February 3, 2020. Since that time, a total of 80 Emergency OICs have been made under the Quarantine Act to reduce the risk of importation of COVID -19 and its variants from other countries, to repatriate Canadians, and to strengthen measures at the border to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Canada. The Government of Canada has taken a prudent, risk-based and measured approach, informed by the latest science and evidence, to adjusting and easing these Emergency OICs over the last two and a half years.
The pandemic situation has evolved since the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 fuelled wave. A number of factors — including increasing immunity within the Canadian population, lower hospitalization and death rates, high vaccination rates, as well as the availability of vaccines (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests and treatments — support lifting Canada’s COVID-19 border measures and travel requirements.
As of October 1, 2022, all travellers arriving in Canada will no longer have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Canada or meet COVID-19 testing, quarantine or isolation requirements. All travellers will also no longer have to submit their public health information through ArriveCAN.
Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, 2022, travellers will no longer be required to:
- Undergo health checks for travel on air and rail;
- Wear masks on planes and trains.
Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journeys. In addition, air carriers will no longer need to validate if travellers have entered information in ArriveCAN before boarding.
While travellers will no longer have to submit their quarantine and vaccination information through ArriveCAN, they can continue to use the optional Advance Declaration feature in ArriveCAN (free as a mobile app or on the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website) to save time at the airport by submitting their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival. This feature is currently available to travellers arriving at Toronto Pearson, Vancouver, or Montréal-Trudeau international airports and will expand to the Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Billy Bishop Toronto City, Ottawa, Québec City, and Halifax international airports in the coming months.
Cruise measures will also be lifted. Travellers will no longer be required to have pre-board tests, be vaccinated, or use ArriveCAN. A set of guidelines will remain to protect passengers and crew, which will align with the approach used in the United States.
Canada’s border testing program has been important in the detection of variants of concern and monitoring of COVID-19 trends. With the removal of testing at the border, the government will continue to monitor signals of increased risk or the spread of new significant variants of concern in Canada through a range of domestic monitoring systems, including wastewater in communities, and the global epidemiology of COVID-19. The Government of Canada will maintain operational capacity to reinstate some testing at the borders in the event it is needed in the future to protect Canadians from a new and potentially severe COVID-19 variant of concern, or other emerging public health threats.