You are currently viewing Canada’s entry test requirement is eliminated for some trips

FINALLY. It’s official: Canada has eliminated its pre-departure testing requirement for entry, at least for short trips. It is now in effect. Only for vaccinated travelers of course, and only for Canadians too. It’s better than nothing, but the government still deserves to be criticized for NOT following the advice of its own experts…

Here are the details.

 

Overview of the announcement

Here is an infographic:

See full-size image

 

Since November 30, the pre-departure test requirement to enter Canada is ELIMINATED only for trips that meet all 3 of these conditions:

There are no other conditions but those 3. The test requirement is eliminated for the trips that meet those 3 above conditions:

  • Regardless of the mode of entry (by land or by air)
  • Regardless of the country travelers are arriving from (it’s not just from the USA)

And finally, to be clear:

  • NO OTHER ENTRY RULE IS CHANGING

This loosening is far from enough (according to the government’s own experts).

At least the science prevails somewhat… because for those who really blindly believe the government when it says it follows the science, no public health expert has ever been able to explain the science behind allowing us to do our tests in Canada before leaving (that was the previous rule) to prevent us from bringing back the virus from another country.

(Although the new science is just as puzzling of course: Why do foreign students living in Canada still need a test after spending a few days in the USA when Canadians who go to the same place for the same amount of time don’t?🤡)

At first glance, this only facilitates short trips to the USA (and not that much, since free COVID-19 tests in the USA are pretty easy to find).

By the way, how do you calculate the 72 hours outside of Canada when you fly? Is it approximately the time you cross the imaginary line by air? Do we have to be glued to the little map on the airplane screen to check precisely? Of course, the government being the government… they did not specify this.

Lastly, as explained in our ultimate guide on how to travel during a pandemic, there are several travel rules…

And this new measure changes absolutely nothing to any other part of Canada’s entry rules (vaccination is now mandatory to board a plane departing from a Canadian airport, but we already knew that and it’s a separate rule).

That means children still won’t be able to go to school or daycare for 14 days (which is NOT a quarantine as explained in our ultimate guide to travel rules for children).

We’ll let you know as soon as more changes are announced (sign up for our free newsletter to get all the tips on how to start traveling again).

 

Important background on the government’s hypocrisy

It’s important to note the hypocrisy: Since the beginning, the government claims to “trust the experts”…

But its own panel of scientific experts, which it assembled specifically to analyze the border measures, has been saying since May (it’s been over 6 months now!!!!!!!!!!!) that the pre-departure test requirement should be eliminated for ALL travel for vaccinated travelers.

The expert panel even called the measure “excessive”.

But it remains in place for almost all travel.

So while this announcement is better than nothing, it is exceedingly disappointing to those who believe in science and trust the experts.

The government has scared so many anxious people by demonizing travel to score political points (more demonized than anywhere outside the dog-killing Pacific nations).

Therefore, it has no choice but to go slowly because some people are completely unable to think rationally and to understand that travel-related cases represent about 1% of cases for over a year or that full arenas here in Canada are not magically safer than what is across imaginary lines.

Liberal advisors have even explicitly told La Presse (in French) that because the government was so slow to act at first and its initial border policy was such a failure, it is now forced to overcompensate by proceeding with extreme caution.

The time to be strict and keep the virus out was at the beginning, everyone agrees. The government did nothing.

Now it’s been a year and a half, it would be great to get over it. The data has been clear for a very long time that removing restrictions for vaccinated travelers is the right thing to do, which is why the government’s own scientific experts, who are not influenced by political science, recommended it over 6 months ago after analyzing the data thoroughly!

Note that 64 countries allow Canadians to enter without any test requirements, including almost all of Europe. These are developed countries that trust science.

In short, since public opinion is the most important thing for this government, we will soon have a nice visual that you can share on social networks if you want to do your part to try to get this measure removed since even the experts say it should be removed.

It’s about time.

 

Other rules

One of the things that almost everyone seems to have trouble understanding (and why 90% of what people say about travel rules is just completely wrong and misleads a lot of people) is that all the rules are completely separate.

It’s easy to understand: Everything is separate.

Just because one thing changes, that doesn’t mean anything else changes. Simple.

They are eliminating the testing requirement. That’s it.

Nothing else changes for those trips (the ArriveCAN app and the 14-day requirements). And it’s just for certain travelers and trips, so nothing changes for the rest.

These are the entry rules (and it’s the first time in months that the entry rules are changing, as I explained with my travel experience last week), so obviously, the new rules to board a plane in a Canadian airport have nothing to do with this and don’t change.

Nothing else changes.

At least not with what we know right now.

Flytrippers is following this closely for you.

 

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Summary

The pre-departure test required for entry into Canada is eliminated for vaccinated Canadian travelers who are gone for less than 72 hours. It’s a start, but it’s not enough… according to government experts, not just travel experts.

What would you like to know about this change? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Featured image: Adirondacks (photo credit: Balazs Busznyak)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 64/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Dan

    I read the official government press release yesterday (Nov. 19, 2021)

    https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/11/government-of-canada-announces-adjustments-to-canadas-border-measures.html

    I called the number for “Public Inquiries” at the bottom of the news release to ask for some clarification. Specifically, I wanted to know whether the policy effective date of November 30, 2021 refers to when a Canadian traveler DEPARTS Canada, or when the traveler ARRIVES at a Canadian port of entry.

    Consider the hypothetical situation where Canadian who leaves Canada on November 29 in the morning for a same-day trip to go shopping stateside. Wanting to take advantage of the removal of the molecular test rule for this same-day trip, they purposely wait before exiting U.S. soil at the border until 12:01 am on November 30, 2021. A few things come to mind. Is this trip eligible for the molecular test waiver, given that the traveler exited Canada before the policy effective date? Also, at what time of day (and time zone) on November 30, 2021 does the policy come into force? In this hypothetical example, let’s say the traveler lives in Ottawa and chooses to sit and wait in the parking lot of the Price Chopper supermarket plaza in Ogdensburg until 12:01 am eastern time before driving to the Ogdensburg-Prescott bridge back to Canada.

    When I tried to seek clarification, the person who answered the phone on the “Public Inquiries” line was not even aware of the existence of that press release, if you can believe it. They transferred me to Health Canada, where someone said they did not know the answer to my questions and they had no more information than I did from the press release (at least they were aware of its existence). Next, I tried calling CBSA’s Border Information Service, and the friendly chap who answered didn’t know either, and he engaged in friendly banter about his frustration with the government and how they can’t even get an announcement like this right and with clarity and that this has been an ongoing problem for years. He suggested calling back in a few days when hopefully someone from the minister’s office might give them some direction. Finally, I tried calling the constituency office of my local MP. As you have probably guessed by now, they too did not know about this change, but did promise to reach out to the appropriate minister’s office on Monday and try to get answers for me.

    So there you have it. A big splashy “feel-good” announcement from our self-proclaimed “following the science” government to throw a few crumbs to the plebeians, and no one thought to communicate it to the people who answer the inquiries hotline, let alone even specify basic details such as the logistics of the effective date and how exactly it is applied!

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hi Dan, okay so there’s a lot to unpack in there.

      First, “if you can believe it” hahaha 😛 Yes, I have been following the government’s travel rules since March 2020 and every single announcement they have made has always been haphazardly thought out and nobody ever knows what they’re doing. So I am not surprised at all, the opposite would have surprised me actually 😛

      But yeah so this was announced yesterday. Again, based on the government’s track record d with literally every single travel rule announcement, they haven’t even thought of the details themselves yet when they announced it, so you have to give them some time before to expect logistical details haha!

      But I can say with 99% certainty that the rules apply as long as you enter on November 30, because it’s an ENTRY rule. They won’t care that you left before the 30th. The entry rule starting on November 30 is that you don’t need a test to enter if you were gone for less than 72 hours, so that should be fine.

      As for the precise time, sometimes it’s 12:01 AM Eastern other times it’s 3:01 AM Eastern time so that the entire country has flipped the calendar to that day, to be continued. But that will be clearly communicated once they make it official closer to the date.

      We’ll update the post once they do 🙂

  2. Marc

    Assuming time away will be calculated as before: time of flight departure > time of return flight departure.
    Again – nothing makes sense.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      That would be the “logical” way but it would be foolish to automatically assume they’ll go the logical way 😛

  3. Marc

    So, this is bound to come up:
    You’re travelling let’s say from Vancouver to Seattle for a week. No test required at land border to enter US. So, you enter with no test, stay for three days, travel back to Canada with no test required, then turn around and head right back to the US for another three days, and back to Canada again. A bit of a hassle, but huge savings for familes. Total tests required – zero.

  4. Rhonda

    So the Gov’t figures we can only catch Covid if we’re out of the country for more than 72 hrs. Makes total sense 🙄 And they wonder why no one wants to follow their idiotic rules

    1. Marc

      I think by this point we all have to accept that nothing makes sense, and just hope for the best. It’s painful.

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