Canada to drop border restrictions; ‘Long road to recovery,’ says FDFA

By Luke Barras-hill |

Canada will remove all Covid-19 travel and border entry restrictions from 1 October in a move that will add impetus to recovering travel and tourism businesses.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed the ending of testing, quarantining and isolation requirements in an announcement yesterday (27 September) that has been greeted by Canada’s DF&TR businesses.

Effective next month, all travellers regardless of citizenship will no longer be required to submit public health information via the ArriveCAN app or website (though they can continue using the optional Advance Declaration feature in ArriveCAN to submit their customs and immigration information on arrival to save time).

This includes providing proof of vaccination, undergoing pre- or on-arrival testing, adhering to quarantine or isolation periods, and monitoring and reporting signs of Covid-19 to the authorities.

Boost for cruiselines

Transport Canada will no longer require travellers to undergo health checks or wear masks on airlines and trains, while cruise guests can waive pre-boarding tests and do not have to be vaccinated or use ArriveCAN.

Guidelines will remain in place to protect guests and crew, aligned with approaches taken by the US.

Canada’s government says a ‘number of factors’ influenced the decision, including modelling indicating the country has largely passed the peak of Omicron variant waves, high vaccination rates, lower hospitalisation and death rates, and the availability and deployment of vaccine boosters, testing and treatment for Covid-19.

Barbara Barrett, Executive Director of the Frontier Duty Free Association.

Barbara Barrett, Executive Director of FDFA, which praised the government’s decision.

The Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA), which acts on behalf of Canada’s 32 independently owned land border duty free shops, said it was ‘thrilled’ by the development.

“During the 20-month border closure, our small businesses were 95% down compared to pre-pandemic and the now unnecessary measures, including ArriveCan, prevented the businesses from recovering beyond 45-50% down,” read a statement. “We can now get on the long road to recovery and we are very much looking forward to it after these very difficult times.”

Canada is among several countries to have applied some of the strictest travel and border control measures in response to the pandemic.

“Canada’s travel measures successfully mitigated the full impact of Covid-19 for travellers and workers in the transportation sector, and helped keep communities safe,” stated The Honourable Omar Alghabra Minister of Transport. “Thanks to Canadians who rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated, we are able to take this great step towards easing measures and returning to normal.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, added: “I also thank the dedicated public health officers and frontline staff at our land borders and airports who have worked tirelessly to protect the health and safety of people in Canada for the last two years.”

For more background on this story, click the below links.

FDFA reports land border sales slump of -45% during peak summer season

FDFA calls to rid ArriveCAN and vaccine requirements at Canada land borders

Land border duty free reacts as Canada ‘set to axe pre-arrival Covid testing’

Border communities call on Canadian government to scrap Covid testing

Breakthrough: US to reopen Canada and Mexico land borders in November


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