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Canada to drop Covid measures at the border on Oct. 1

POLITICO 9/26/2022 By POLITICO Pro Canada Staff
Workers wearing protective masks hang a Canadian flag. © Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo Workers wearing protective masks hang a Canadian flag.

OTTAWA — Canada will end Covid measures at its border Oct. 1.

Incoming travelers will no longer have to test, quarantine, declare their vaccination status or use ArriveCAN, the digital tool at the center of political debate about pandemic restrictions.

“We will remove all border requirements for travelers entering Canada,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Monday on Parliament Hill.

The federal government is also dropping masking requirements on planes and trains, Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced at the same briefing.

The mandatory ArriveCAN app required individuals to upload vaccination credentials and other travel information before arriving in Canada. It was made mandatory under the Quarantine Act — measures set to expire Sept. 30.

Duclos said the government reserves the right to reestablish certain border measures should they be required against new variants of concern or other threats.

Headline glitches: ArriveCan was blamed for the congestion in Canada’s airports over the summer, though investigations revealed a myriad of issues at play. The tool misfired in June and July, sending automatic messages that directed some 10,000 Apple users into quarantine.

In defense of ArriveCAN: In mid-August, amidst calls to “scrap the app,” Alghabra was called to a summer meeting of the House transport committee. He told MPs that compliance rates among international arrivals was 99.5 percent.

In fact, he warned MPs, “If we suspend ArriveCAN today, it will add significant complications to the congestion we have at our airports.”

During the same meeting, Denis Vinette of the Travellers Branch at Canada Border Services Agency rejected accusations the app was behind border delays. “Without ArriveCAN, it would take a far greater time to process individuals than it currently takes,” he told MPs.

What’s next: The House international trade committee has initiated a study of the impacts of the app on certain sectors of the Canadian economy. On Tuesday, MPs will hear from senior officials from Customs and Immigration Union and Frontier Duty Free Association.

Canadian Deputy Health Minister Howard Njoo said Monday that vaccinations have changed “Canada’s scorecard” and used the media briefing to urge Canadians to top up their boosted status.

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