Long lines at airports across the country should start to end as the federal government’s COVID-19 restrictions expire this weekend.
Ottawa has announced that by October 1, the orders will expire - marking the end of the mandatory use of the ArriveCan app, mandatory masks on planes and trains, as well as the testing and quarantine of international travellers.
The changes mean that those who travel internationally will no longer have to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to re-enter Canada, there will no longer be random COVID-19 tests or any quarantine orders and the ArriveCan app will only be used for Customs uses.
“Beauty, eh? No more masks at the airport,” said Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford, after hearing the news yesterday during the Q Morning Show.
“I think it’s time personally, as somebody who travels every week of my life...it’s become abundantly clear. Seeing folks grapple with the ArriveCan app and some of the other barriers to travel...we need to open the doors to a more reasonable ebb and flow at our airports. I think it’s time. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Delays at airports were blamed on ArriveCan, as some travellers who struggled to get it to work, or couldn't or wouldn't use it, backed up already-long lines. However, airport delays have also been blamed on labour shortages, and Customs staff are still using the app.
Border measures also became heavily politicized in recent weeks, with the Conservatives demanding Trudeau lift them all. New PC Leader Pierre Poilievre made ending them a key policy in his recent leadership campaign.
Although, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc has warned that Ottawa is prepared to ‘bring back necessary policies’ if there's a resurgence of COVID-19 over the fall and winter seasons – but the feds are hoping the new bivalent vaccine ends those concerns.
Residents are still asked not to travel if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, are in isolation, are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test or have been in close contact with a suspected or confirmed case. Masks are also still strongly recommended, just not required.
However, if you do get sick while travelling, you’re asked to inform a flight attendant, cruise staff or a border services officer upon arrival. You may then be referred to a quarantine officer, who will decide whether you need further medical assessment.