Federal govt. could announce lifting of pre-arrival testing rule for travellers as early as tomorrow: reports

TORONTO — The CBC is reporting that the federal government could make an announcement as early as tomorrow about the elimination of pre-arrival testing for travellers coming into Canada.

The CBC cites sources close to the matter, who say the requirement could be dropped by the end of this month.

Current travel measures require pre-arrival negative rapid antigen test results within 24 hours, for travellers coming into or returning to Canada.

Industry groups including the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable, which includes ACTA and numerous airlines, tour operators, hotel companies and more, have been calling for the elimination of all pre-arrival testing.

Just last week, at its latest media briefing, the Roundtable’s corporate travel and MICE sector executives spelled out the massive and years-long negative economic impact resulting from meeting planners pivoting away from booking large-scale events in Toronto and other Canadian cities due to prohibitive and/or confusing rules for travellers.

The most recent round of eased travel measures, announced Feb. 15 and in effect sinceFeb. 28, included the option for rapid antigen tests to meet the pre-arrival testing requirements.

That move was welcomed by the industry but most argued that at this point in the pandemic, with COVID cases so widespread and with so much transmission in community settings, testing for fully vaccinated travellers needs to be eliminated altogether.