BUFFALO, N.Y. — Following months of pleas from politicians on both sides of the border, the Canadian government is dropping its remaining COVID border restrictions this Saturday.
Canadian cabinet ministers said Monday during the announcement that the restrictions were always meant to be just temporary, but they said if there are new variants or other health threats in the future, they could always reinstate them.
Here's what's going away as of Saturday - you will no longer have to use the ArriveCAN app, it will be optional, masks on trains and planes will be optional, the random testing at the border will go away, and the vaccine requirement to enter Canada will be gone.
"This includes the removal of all federal testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements as well as the mandatory submission of health information in ArriveCAN," said Jean-Yves Duclos, Canadian Health Minister. "The government of Canada will maintain the ability to reestablish certain border measures should they be required in the future to protect Canadians from the importation of new variants of concern or other emerging public health threats."
"The factors that allow us to remove these border measures also allow me to announce that Transport Canada is removing existing travel requirements. This means that as of October first, travelers will no longer be required to undergo health checks for travel on air and rail or wear masks on planes and trains, " said Omar Alghabra, Canadian Minister of Transport.
"As of October 1, 2022, travelers entering Canada will no longer be required to use ArriveCAN in any mode of travel - air, land, or sea. This decision is a result of the removal of all COVID-related health measures at our borders. Going forward, use of ArriveCAN will be optional allowing travelers who so choose to submit their customs declaration in advance at major airports," said Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety of Canada.
Congressman Brian Higgins has been pushing for these changes for a long time. Monday he said, "Canada's decision is the right one. The U.S. should follow immediately."
The use of the ArriveCAN app will be optional starting Saturday, so if you plan on going to Canada before this weekend you will still have to use it.