Canada has no plans to change negative test requirement for all inbound travellers, public safety minister says
Less than 24 hours after the U.S. announced it will reopen its land border to non-essential Canadian travellers, requiring proof of vaccination, but not a negative COVID-19 test, Ottawa said Canadians shouldn’t expect a reciprocal change.
“At the present time, the advice is we intend to retain (the PCR test),” Bill Blair told CTV’s Power Play.
“It has proven to be exceptionally effective in securing the safety and security and health of Canadians,” Blair told host Evan Solomon.
Canada has long required all returning travellers to provide an approved negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of flight departure time for airline passengers, or within 72 hours of arriving at the land border for those crossing on the ground.
Dr. Brian Conway, the medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, said the latest testing figures from the border showed a continued need for caution.
“We’ll have to be very careful. It’s not zero risk,” Conway said.
Data from Health Canada shows that between Aug. 9 and Sept. 30, 292 travellers who were fully vaccinated and were subjected to randomized testing at land and airport crossings tested positive for COVID-19.
That’s less than 0.2 per cent of the tests administered, but Conway called it a “significant number.”
“There will be cases acquired from people who go from Canada to the United States and bring them back into Canada,” Conway said.
"The information from the past two months is telling us that. It may even increase," he added.
The U.S. also plans to require all international travellers to show proof they are fully vaccinated, whether flying or driving across the border.
Canadians returning north are required to be fully vaccinated in order to avoid a two-week quarantine.