Feds to lift PCR test requirement for short trips
TORONTO -- The federal government will be lifting the PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada after short trips, CTV News has confirmed.
This means that as soon as this re-entry requirement comes into effect, travellers who are coming back into the country within 72 hours of their departure will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The PCR test requirement will remain in effect for trips longer than 72 hours.
All travellers entering Canada, regardless of vaccination status, have been required to present proof of a molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of crossing the land border or boarding a flight.
These tests can cost anywhere between $150 to $300. Antigen tests, which generally only cost $40 to $60, are not accepted for entry in Canada.
For trips under 72 hours, travellers could take a COVID-19 test in Canada before departure under the current rules.
Pressure has been mounting on the federal government to lift the PCR test entry requirement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the issue with provincial and territorial premiers during a conference call on Tuesday.
"The consensus is a lot of premiers want to see that," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government would be announcing changes to COVID-19 health measures at the border "very soon."
Trudeau is currently in Washington for the Three Amigos summit with U.S. and Mexican officials. Business leaders involved in the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable issued a news release on Wednesday calling for an end to pre-departure COVID-19 testing and streamlined border rules among the three nations.
"The leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico should prioritize removing friction from our mutual borders," said Perrin Beatty, CEO and president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
"Getting rid of unnecessary and outdated travel rules will help Canada's businesses get back to work -- and compete."
The U.S. also opened its land border for non-essential travel on Nov. 8. Fully vaccinated travellers crossing into the U.S. by land or ferry aren't required to present a COVID-19 test result. For air travellers, antigen tests are accepted for entry into the U.S.