Pax Global Media
This story was updated on Thursday, March 17 at 7:31 a.m. EST
Sources have told CBC News that the federal government will soon announce an end to pre-arrival COVID-19 testing measures for travellers.
The story, published Wednesday (March 16), claimed that an official announcement could be made as soon as today (March 17) with changes going into effect by the end of the month.
In a similar story, CTV News reported that Ottawa will lift the requirement on April 1.
The Government of Canada, in a release issued later on, confirmed that Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault will share an update on Canada's border measures today (March 17) at 10:30 a.m. EST.
Currently, fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada must show proof of a negative antigen or molecular test within a day of their departure flight or arrival at the land border.
On-arrival COVID-19 testing at airports, a measure that ramped up last November in response to the Omicron wave (and then was later eased), will continue on a randomized basis to track variants, said an unnamed source in CBC's story.
One change the government made last month was eliminating the quarantine requirement that came with on-arrival testing. Travellers, now, no longer have to self-isolate while awaiting their test results.
READ MORE: “We need urgent action”: YVR business, Indigenous tourism leaders demand Ottawa lift travel testing
Passengers travelling abroad after April 1 may still have to use the ArriveCAN app to enter their proof of vaccination and other required information, reports claim.
Calls to eliminate testing requirements for fully-vaccinated travellers have intensified in recent weeks.
The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, a coalition of travel and tourism leaders, has led various press conferences to show how Canada’s pre-arrival testing rules are decimating Canada's travel and tourism sectors.
The last event, held in Toronto on March 10, highlighted testing's impact on business travel and Toronto tourism.
A similar event was held on March 2 in Vancouver to demonstrate how border testing has impacted Indigenous tourism, as well as the sales of travel agencies.
At that press conference, Claire Newell, president of Travel Best Bets, said pre-flight testing continues to have a “big impact on bookings,” even if the federal government has begun allowing travellers to opt for an antigen test, instead of a PCR, to meet entry requirements.
“Business travellers and families simply aren’t willing to take the risk of their trip abroad being unnecessarily extended,” Newell said at the time. “For my business, I have seen a huge decline in bookings. We are still well below 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and I see the hesitancy that people have when making bookings while testing is still required.”
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today! Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.