Article Update | Sept. 26, 2022
In Canada, mandatory COVID vaccination and quarantining are no longer required for travellers.
By Outpost Travel Media | Sept. 26, 2022
(Toronto’s Pearson international airport in 2018 by Lumi W/Unsplash)
As of October 1, 2022, the federal government of Canada is ending all COVID-related border/travel requirements and restrictions for anybody coming into Canada, including Canadians returning home, “whether by land, air, or sea.”
This means mandatory COVID immunization will no longer be required to enter Canada, and all COVID testing, quarantining and isolating requirements and protocols are all coming to an end. Showing proof of COVID vaccination will also no longer be necessary for travel, and the government’s ArriveCAN program — whereby all inbound passengers and travellers had to fill out an online COVID-related travel questionnaire, put in place during the pandemic — will also be cancelled.
The rules are also changing for mandatory masking: wearing masks on airplanes and trains will also no longer be required (at least by federal decree).
Yet having said this, it’s wise to keep in mind these changes have likely arisen as a result of societal and industry pressure, not necessarily because the threat of COVID-19 and its (insidious) variants have been eradicated — you can read the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID “threat analysis” here. Masks are still a highly effective tool in limiting your exposure to COVID and many other contagious respiratory diseases.
It’s also just wise to be immunized — not only to protect yourself but other possibly more vulnerable members of your community (and family), and especially, the communities you’re travelling to: we’ve been consistent in this philosophy from the introduction of the COVID vaccines.
We also highly recommend you book an appoint at a specialized travel health clinic as part of your travel planning — they’re storehouses of information on the local public health situation, as well as unique health and safety risks, for many destinations around the world. Some countries, for example, still require you to be immunized against yellow fever — and yes, you’ll need to show proof of vaccination. It’s not just about COVID. ♦
By Deborah Sanborn | Outpost Travel Media | June 27, 2022
In Canada, the COVID-vaccine mandate for some travel is changing, but we still urge caution when heading out, once again, into the wider world.
On June 20, the federal government of Canada lifted its mandatory COVID vaccination requirement for “domestic and outbound travel” for air and train travel. That effectively means that as a traveller, you no longer need to “show proof of vaccination” or indeed to be vaccinated at all against COVID to board a plane or train in Canada. (Update, as per above: as of October 1, 2022, all federal government COVID-related travel requirements and restrictions are ending in Canada for inbound travellers and passengers.)
“Masks are still a highly effective tool in limiting your exposure to COVID and many other contagious respiratory diseases”
(As an aside, this isn’t a wise idea, epidemiologically speaking; I doubt any public health or medical professional thinks it is. And it’s likely occurring as immunization resistance among a segment of the population has remained in place in conjunction with the travel industry just wanting to get going this summer after two and half dreadful years.
It isn’t wise because infectious microbes and their diseases make their way around the world by travel and through travellers, as COVID dramatically demonstrated and as the recent monkeypox outbreak is doing so again. COVID moves and morphs fast, and despite 32 million people in Canada being vaccinated with at least one dose as of June 2022 — about 85% of the population; 81% with at least two doses — people are still getting it, and being vaccinated can severely reduce its punch, both communally and individually.
If you’re fully vaccinated, here are the new rules from the government of Canada. If you’re unvaccinated, though boarding restrictions may have changed, you still have to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Canada, which may feel like a serious travel buzz kill, but it’s the best Canada can right now to help limit the risk of COVID continuing to spread through travel.
And all travellers, despite their immunization status, must still use the pre-arrival ArriveCAN app, which if you’re unvaccinated, will ask you to include your “quarantine plan.” Here’s the link to the new rules if you’re unvaccinated and planning on train or plane travel in and from Canada. Here’s a link to follow the latest rules issued by the government of Canada, as a starting point.
To be clear, masks are still mandatory on planes, trains, and at airports in Canada — so no arguing about that, that’s the rule!
(As another aside, there are still reasons to pause before hitting the buy button on that cheap flight if you’re unvaccinated and want to travel (which we do not recommend: not only for the risk to yourself, but for the risk to the people in the communities you’re travelling to).
Specifically, you must check to verify if the destination you’re travelling to requires mandatory COVID immunization to enter (and how that destination defines it: one dose, two doses, or more?). You’ll be denied entry upon arrival if they do, and waste a lot of your time and money.
So always check with national, regional or local authorities — and keep in mind, cities, regions or communities in the country you’re travelling to may too have different rules. A travel health clinic is the best place to find out what you need know for any destination — knowing the health and safety risks, and what destinations require in terms of any immunizations, is in fact, what the do.
The information provided in the Outpost Travel Health Center are guidelines only. Always (always!) get individual medical advice from your doctor, a travel health doctor, or at a travel health clinic before travelling. In fact, we always advise your first point of planning for any trip should be booking an appointment with your family doctor or at a travel health clinic (which specialize in destination health and safety info, and requirements). Be advised too, that some destination-specific vaccines or preventatives (such as for malaria or traveller’s diarrhea) may require multiple doses, and thus require days/weeks/months of spacing between. So, when it comes to travel and health, start your planning sooner than later.