Congressman calls for end to all border measures, as Canada readies to ease test requirements

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Starting next month, Canada will no longer require COVID-19 testing at international crossings for fully vaccinated travellers. However, a number of measures will remain in place, including pre-arrival testing for unvaccinated entrants. Western New York representative Brian Higgins wants to see all measures removed. Photo credit: Bloomberg

 

On March 16, the federal government announced that, effective Apr. 1, 2022, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to provide a pre-arrival COVID-19 test to enter Canada by air, land, or water. 

In a news release regarding the announcement Thursday, Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said that Canada’s high domestic vaccination rate, decreasing hospitalizations, and wider availability of rapid tests and therapeutics all factored into the government’s decision to drop testing at the border.

“As vaccination levels and healthcare system capacity improve, we will continue to consider further easing of measures at the borders – and when to adjust those measures – to keep the people in Canada safe,” said Duclos. 

Though one step closer to pre-COVID travel conditions, the government will maintain several measures after testing is lifted for fully vaccinated travellers on April 1. 

All travellers, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will continue to be at hazard of getting selected for mandatory random testing. 

In addition, all travellers will continue to be required to submit their information in ArriveCAN before arrival in Canada. Travellers who arrive without completing their ArriveCAN submission may have to test on arrival and even quarantine for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status. 

For all travellers considered only partially vaccinated or unvaccinated, a valid negative antigen or molecular test will continue to be required prior to arrival. 

Western New York congressman Brian Higgins applauded the Canadian government’s decision to eliminate non-random testing for fully vaccinated travellers next month, putting the country more in line with U.S. policy, but lamented the maintenance of testing for unvaccinated border-crossers.

“I write to assert the need to consider the elimination of current vaccination requirements at land ports of entry, which inhibit cross-border travel, the flow of commerce, and create an unnecessary barrier to the eventual resumption of pre-pandemic levels of cross-border activity,” said Congressman Higgins in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 16. 

“Based on current trends, I believe it is time to follow the science and remove the remaining restrictions at the U.S. and Canadian borders to allow Americans and Canadians to move freely across.”

Higgins, who serves as co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, has championed lighter border measures amongst Americans and Canadians crossing at land ports of entry, like the Peace Bridge or Niagara Falls’ Rainbow Bridge, since the start of the pandemic. 

In addition to his correspondence to Trudeau, the Democratic congressman also wrote a letter to the White House and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, imploring the Biden administration to eliminate vaccination requirements for non-citizens at the border.

Currently, American citizens do not need to provide proof of vaccination to enter the U.S., however, all foreign nationals must verify that they are fully vaccinated prior to entry. 

 

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