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Canada to drop COVID-19 vaccine border policy, ArriveCan to be optional: sources

The federal government plans to drop its COVID-19 vaccine border requirements by the end of September and make the ArriveCan application optional, sources confirmed to CTV News.

The government is expected to make this policy change by the end of the month, and the sources indicated the Liberals would also end the outstanding random COVID-19 testing for travellers.

The federal government said in late June that existing border restrictions, including showing proof of vaccination to enter the country, would remain in place until at least Sept. 30. The latest news suggests the federal government may simply choose not to extend these measures any further.

Also in June, the government began allowing unvaccinated Canadians to board planes and trains heading to either domestic or international locations, but they were still required to follow the current testing and quarantine requirements upon re-entry from international destinations. As of that last update to COVID-19 border rules, foreign nationals coming to Canada were still required to be vaccinated in order to enter.

It was not immediately clear exactly which vaccination-related rules will change come the end of the month, with an announcement expected in the days ahead.

It is also unclear whether the United States will follow suit with Canada. Non-U.S. citizens travelling to the country are still required to be fully vaccinated.

And with the Toronto Blue Jays vying for a spot in the post-season, they could face teams with unvaccinated players who couldn't visit the city due to existing restrictions.

The move comes after calls from some in the aviation industry and opposition MPs for the government to drop its outstanding COVID-19 border rules and scrap the ArriveCan app completely.

Appearing on CTV's Power Play on Tuesday, Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault declined to comment on the changes specifically but said as tourism minister, he is interested in ensuring the border is as "unsticky" as it possibly can be.

"What I can say (is) that my colleagues and I are going to make sure that we do the right thing to boost the economy but also keep Canadians safe and make sure that we're moving on in this post-acute COVID phase," he said.

Conservative MP Michael Barrett, also appearing on CTV's Power Play on Tuesday, said it is "high time that they scrap the app."

"Certainly, we support this because it's based in science and border communities have been crying for this," he said. "Our tourism sector has been hurting bad."

Appearing alongside Barrett on Power Play, NDP MP Rachel Blaney said people need to be kept as safe as possible.

"But as things get better, I think we all have to do our best to make sure that we're as welcoming as we possibly can, but we need to do that cautiously," she said.

"But around the ArriveCan app, I've just heard so many horror stories, so really hopeful to see that dealt with in a meaningful way."

With files from CTV National News' Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor, Online Politics Producer Rachel Aiello and Writer Michael Lee



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