PM agrees to lift pandemic border measures, source says
The federal government has decided to drop the vaccination requirement for people entering Canada, end random COVID-19 testing at airports and make the use of the ArriveCan app optional by the end of this month, a senior government source told CBC News.
Earlier this week, sources told CBC that Ottawa was leaning toward ending the measures but a final decision hadn’t been made because it was awaiting the approval of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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The current COVID-19 Emergency Order-in-Council relating to border measures was set to expire on Sept. 30. The government had the option of extending the measures. The government is expected to make an official announcement on Monday, the source said.
The official spoke to CBC on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The government has yet to decide if they will end the current masking requirements for passengers on planes and trains. That topic will be debated in cabinet later on Thursday.
On Tuesday, a group of MPs and border-city mayors published an open letter to Trudeau and US President Joe Biden asking them to end the “unnecessary” rules at the border, which they say would allow border communities to recover economically from the pandemic.
“When COVID-19 was at its peak and border measures were effective at slowing transmission rates, we did our part to keep Canadians and Americans safe,” the letter states. “Now, we have been left behind in the recovery effort as both countries have largely returned to normal daily life.”
A number of travelers and tourism operators have been calling for an end to the pandemic measures, especially random testing.
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada said it was “heartened” by the news but added the government should still lift the masking requirement for air travellers.
“We have been unequivocal in calling on the federal government to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on travel,” a statement from the organization said.