Canada will drop COVID-19 testing requirement for trips under 72 hours on Nov. 30

As of Nov. 30, fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents and individuals registered under the Indian Act who take a trip for 72 hours or less will not have to complete a PCR test before re-entering Canada.

This change applies to trips both by land and air.

At a press conference on Friday, Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said that the federal government is "re-evaluating" the entry requirements for American citizens coming to Canada, with an update expected at a "later date."

Additionally, Canada is expanding the list of COVID-19 vaccines that considers individuals fully vaccinated for the purposes of travel to or within Canada.

As of Nov. 30, this will include vaccines from Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing.

Limiting exemptions for individually who are not fully vaccinated

The federal government is also making changes in the new year for some groups of travellers. As of Jan. 15, 2022, some people who are currently exempt from entry requirements will only be allowed to enter Canada if they are fully vaccinated. These groups include:

  • Individuals travelling to reunite with family (unvaccinated children under 18 years of age will retain exemption if travelling to reunite with an immediate or extended family member who is a Canadian, permanent resident, or person registered under the Indian Act);

  • International students who are 18 years old and older;

  • Professional and amateur athletes;

  • Individuals with a valid work permit, including temporary foreign workers (outside of those in agriculture and food processing);

  • Essential service providers, including truck drivers.

After Jan. 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for a "limited exceptions." This applies to groups like agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, those entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees and some children under the age of 18.

At Friday's press conference, Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, reiterated the existing "transition period" where individuals who are not fully vaccinated can provide a proof of a negative PCR test to travel from Canadian airports or trains, which comes to an end on Nov. 29.

Alghabra explained that if, for example, someone is medically unable to be vaccinated, they need to contact the airline or rail company they are travelling with to submit the required information. Travellers with exemptions will have to submit a temporary exemption form, signed by a doctor or nurse practitioner, and a valid negative PCR COVID-19 test. Operators will be required to report exemptions granted.