Canada is moving to wind down some of its inbound testing requirements.
Starting Feb. 28, all inbound travelers to Canada will be allowed to travel into the country with a negative rapid antigen test result taken within 24 hours of departure. Previously, Canada had required a PCR test in order to enter.
The PCR tests will still be allowed (they need to be taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure), but now the option of the rapid test, administered by a telehealth service, laboratory, or healthcare professional, will provide travelers more flexibility.
For the travel industry, the change is hopefully the first in a number of moves towards the return of normalcy post-COVID. According to the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), there is still a lot more to be done.
“While ACTA welcomes this change as an important step forward, we urge the government to lift all pre-departure testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers,” said Wendy Paradis, ACTA president.
“Rapid antigen tests are an additional cost and often difficult to procure. All testing requirements create uncertainty and deter travel. There is no scientific basis to single-out travel for testing.”
ACTA, in a statement this week, applauded two other moves that the Canadian government made.
The first was the removal of the global blanket travel advisory against all non-essential travel outside Canada for fully vaccinated travelers, “ an important change for the travel industry [that] also affects the availability of travel insurance,” said Paradis.
The other was the federal government’s move to allow all airports nationally to receive international flights, another change that will take place on Feb. 28.
“This is great news for Canada’s inbound and outbound travel and tourism industry,” said Paradis. “Today’s changes are important milestones for travel agencies and independent travel agents.”