Conservative Party and Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole today called on the Trudeau government to remove the current pre-departure PCR testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada through land borders. Additionally, he wants Canada to harmonize with U.S. regulations on air travel, and remove the pre-departure requirement for a PCR test in favour of a rapid antigen test for fully vaccinated travellers.
“Canada’s Conservatives believe that decisions regarding testing requirements for entry into Canada should be informed by the best available science and rely on the advice of public health experts,” said O’Toole in a statement issued Friday morning.
“In May, the government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel released a report recommending that fully vaccinated non-exempt travellers do not need to take a pre-departure test. The expert panel and leading health experts have made it clear that it is time to update the pre-departure PCR policies for fully vaccinated travelers entering through land borders and air travel.
“The requirement of proof of vaccination at the border dramatically reduces the risk of cases entering the country. When combined with the unique ability for entry and exit data to allow for enhanced traceability security, the combined effect of these measures allows for exceedingly safe travel, and desperately needed relief for border communities.”
Canada and US border town mayors also want Ottawa to cancel the COVID-19 test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers. In a press conference held this Monday, the mayors said taking a molecular test such as a PCR test, which can cost hundreds of dollars is a big obstacle for travellers. They argued that while the US land border is now open, the cost of Canada’s test requirement will continue to hamper a return to tourism on both sides of the border.
When entering Canada, no matter how short their trip, travellers must take a pre-arrival molecular COVID-19 test such as a PCR test, which can cost anywhere from C$150 to C$300.
Canada’s test requirement first caused complaints earlier this month when the US announced it would reopen its land border to fully vaccinated travellers on November 8, and not require them to take a pre-arrival COVID-19 test.