Truckers looking to cross the Canada-U.S. border will still need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, despite the federal government lifting other health measures for travellers Tuesday.
Starting June 20, domestic and outbound international travellers will no longer need to show proof of vaccination before boarding an airplane or train. The vaccine mandate for workers in those federally-regulated travel sectors will also be removed.
But when asked whether Tuesday’s decision will affect vaccine rules for truckers at the Canada-U.S. border, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the mandate remains an “important tool” to protect Canadians against the virus.
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He said the government remains open to revisiting the policy in the future, but noted the U.S. has a reciprocal policy in place mandating vaccinations for Canadian truckers entering the country.
“Having said that, we will constantly assess our measures as we’ve demonstrated in the past,” he told reporters.
Alghabra added truckers have “stepped up” to get vaccinated since the policy went into effect in January, and the “vast majority” have been inoculated.
Vaccination requirement to board flights and trains lifted by Ottawa
The cross-border vaccine mandate for truckers sparked a series of “Freedom Convoy” demonstrations across the country, including the weeks-long occupation in Ottawa. Several border crossings were also blocked by protesters demanding an end to all COVID-19 mandates.
Here are the other federal COVID-19 measures that remain in place for travellers:
Despite the vaccine mandate being lifted, domestic travellers will still be required to wear face masks on planes and interprovincial trains in Canada.
The U.S. stopped enforcing a mask mandate for air travel in April after a judge tossed out the federal order. U.S. airlines and airports switched to “masks optional” policies immediately after the decision.
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ArriveCAN for vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers coming to Canada from another country will still have to enter their proof of vaccination and travel details into the Arrive CAN app at least 72 hours before boarding a plane, train or marine vessel.
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As of April, quarantine plans and proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure are no longer required for fully vaccinated travellers.
Testing, quarantine for unvaccinated travellers
If travellers entering Canada are unvaccinated, they are still subject to testing and quarantine measures.
Proof of a negative PCR or other molecular test is required within 72 hours of arrival in Canada, or a negative antigen test taken the previous day at a pharmacy, lab or other medical facility.
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Once in Canada, unvaccinated travellers are also subject to on-site testing at airports across the country.
Unvaccinated travellers must also quarantine for 14 days, and submit a plan for where they will quarantine through the ArriveCAN app. Another COVID-19 test must be taken on the eighth day of quarantine.
Random testing for all travellers
Last week, Ottawa announced it was temporarily suspending all random COVID-19 testing of incoming vaccinated passengers at Canadian airports until June 30.
The testing will return starting July 1, but all tests will be performed off-site — including for unvaccinated travellers.
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday the testing is not done to monitor travellers for infection, but rather as a way to measure emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 that may be making their way into Canada from other countries.
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Cruise ship vaccine mandate
Despite the lifting of the vaccine mandate for air and rail travellers, cruise ship passengers and crew members will still need to be fully vaccinated.
The government said Tuesday the rule will remain in place “due to the unique nature of cruise ship travel.”
Passengers must also provide proof of a negative PCR or other molecular test within 72 hours of boarding, or a negative antigen test taken the previous day at a pharmacy, lab or other medical facility.
That information must be submitted through the ArriveCAN app before boarding any cruise ship in Canada or one that will dock in Canada at any point during the cruise.
— with files from Craig Lord
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