Air Canada has applauded the decision by the Canadian government to remove pre-departure COVID-19 testing rules for fully vaccinated travellers beginning April 1. The Canadian government said it was now possible to lift pre-departure testing requirements on the back of Canada’s high vaccination rate and declining hospitalization numbers.
Minister of health Jean-Yves Duclos also claimed a plentiful supply of rapid antigen tests and new COVID-19 treatments like Pfizer’s Paxlovid were behind the government’s decision to ease pandemic-induced border restrictions.
Randy Boissonnault, Canada’s tourism minister, admitted, however, that the decision was also the result of lobbying from the tourism industry which had complained that pre-departure testing rules were putting off potential tourists from visiting the country.
“After a challenging two years, we all want the Canadian economy, including the tourism sector, to rebound and grow,” Boissonnault said on Thursday.
Fully vaccinated travellers can now completely skip the pre-departure testing requirement while unvaccinated or partially vaccinated tourists will have several testing options available to them.
The quickest and easiest option is to obtain a rapid antigen test through an approved supplier within one day of travel but an RT-PCR will remain valid for up to three days before travel.
The third option is only available to travellers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 with proof of a positive test result from 10 and 180 days.
All travellers regardless of vaccination status could still be pulled to one side at the arrival airport and asked to take a random COVID-19 test as part of Canada’s mandatory testing program.
On Thursday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that 25 markets were now open to vaccinated travellers without any form of testing or quarantine requirements – an increase of seven from mid-February.
Pressure is now growing on the Biden administration to lift pre-departure testing rules for U.S.-bound travellers, although the White House hasn’t given any indication when it might further ease travel rules.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.