Canada is dropping the coronavirus testing requirement for fully vaccinated travellers.
The federal government will make an announcement on Thursday (March 17) that it's dropping the pre-arrival COVID-19 test requirement at airports and land border crossings, effective April 1, according to the Surrey Board of Trade.
“We look forward to hearing the details of this announcement tomorrow,” Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade, told Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview.
While Huberman doesn't have the full details of the federal announcement, she hopes it will provide more clarity for travellers to support economies that have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic.
"I think that we need to ensure that all of the confusion that travellers are facing is removed. There's been so much confusion and it's really compromised the hospitality and tourism sector," she explained.
"We know we are going to have to live with COVID-19."
The board has been calling for the end of restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, which it says will ultimately remove unnecessary and restrictive rules affecting the travel industry. It also urges the government to remove the $5,000 fine for travellers who test positive 10 days after crossing the land border.
Since Feb. 28, all fully vaccinated travellers to Canada have been able to use proof of a negative rapid COVID-19 test instead of a PCR test to gain entry to the country.
But while travellers are permitted to use proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test, they have a shorter window of time to take the test prior to departure. Further, not all rapid tests are accepted as proof and they must be professionally administered at a pharmacy or laboratory or "observed" — meaning that a health care professional observes the test via a telehealth option.
The Government of Canada also adjusted the travel health notice from level three to level two. As a result, travellers are no longer recommended to avoid all travel for non-essential purposes. That said, they should consider the availability of medical services in a foreign country, and plan for the potential high costs associated with medical treatment and extending their trip, should they test positive for COVID-19 while abroad.