'I'm so angry and sad about this': Canadians react to drop of masking, COVID-19 testing and ArriveCAN travel requirements

A traveler talks to a staff member at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on June 20, 2022. The Canadian federal government started to suspend vaccination requirements against COVID-19 for domestic and outbound travel, federally regulated transportation sectors and federal government employees as of June 20. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty Images) (Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images)

The Canadian government announced Monday that as of Oct. 1, COVID-19 border and travel measures will be removed for plane, train and cruise travel.

All travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:

  • Undergo health checks for travel on air and rail

  • Wear masks on planes and trains

  • Submit health information through the ArriveCAN app or website

  • Provide proof of vaccination

  • Go through pre- or on-arrival COVID-19 testing

  • Stay in COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation

  • Monitor and report signs or symptoms of COVID-19 that develop upon arriving to Canada


Cruise travellers will no longer need to be vaccinated, they will not have any pre-boarding COVID-19 testing and will not need to use ArriveCAN.

Travellers who entered Canada in the 14 days prior to Oct. 1 will not be required to complete the remainder of their quarantine or testing requirements.

The federal government is still "strongly" recommending that travellers wear a high quality and well-fitted mask during travel. Travellers can also continue to use the optional Advance Declaration feature in ArriveCAN, "to save time at the airport by submitting their customs and immigration declaration in advance of arrival."

Individuals should not travel if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and if any traveller becomes sick while on their journey, they should inform a flight attendant, cruise staff, or a border services officer upon arrival.

On Friday, a report prepared for the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable (CTTR) was released, co-authored by four Canadian doctors that specialize in infectious diseases, emergency medicine and pandemic management. The report was in support of loosening travel restrictions.

"The continued imposition of travel measures at Canada's border is costly, illogical, and inconsistent at this point," a statement from Dr. Dominik Mertz, associate professor, Division Director Infectious Diseases at McMaster University reads.

While Canadians are free to attend concerts, sports games, and many other daily activities, the travel industry continued to be singled out without any scientific basis. In retrospect, these measures could have been stopped along with similar changes in policy in the community across Canada.Dr. Dominik Mertz, Division Director Infectious Diseases, McMaster University

"There is a clear discrepancy in the measures that have been applied to international travel and tourism, especially when compared to the measures applied to other modes of transportation, such as public transportation, and to public health measures in the community in general," a statement from Dr. David Carr, associate professor, Division of Emergency Medicine at the University of Toronto and Emergency Physician at the University Health Network reads.

"Based on current data and evidence, it is time for a complete overhaul of the Canadian government's approach to the testing and surveillance of air travel passengers. Canada must start aligning its policies with those of peer countries."

Several Canadians, including health experts and travel industry groups, have taken to social media to comment on the upcoming changes to COVID-19-related travel rules.

Some travellers have expressed concerns about the removal of the masking measure in particular.