The Trudeau government announced Tuesday that it will extend its Covid border mandates and restrictions until at least Jun. 30.
The announcement comes just a day after the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois voted down a Conservative motion that would have ended pandemic mandates and restrictions at Canadian borders.
The extension of the measures means that all incoming travellers must continue to use the government’s ArriveCan app, which asks travellers a number of questions about their travels.
Unvaccinated Canadians will continue to be required to obtain a negative Antigen or Molecular test before their departure and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Unvaccinated foreign nationals remain barred from entering Canada, even if they test negative for COVID-19. There are limited exemptions to this travel ban, including one for Ukrainian refugees.
In response to the extension, Conservative MP and transport critic Melissa Lantsman accused the government of “dividing Canadians” and doubling down “with no justification.”
A number of travel and tourism organizations had recently called on the Trudeau government to end travel mandates. These included the Canadian Airport Council, who said that the measures quadrupled the processing time for air travellers.
“We’re seeing that we clearly cannot have these public health requirements and testing at our borders as we get back to regular travel,” said Council interim president Monette Pasher.
“Getting back to regular travel with these health protocols and testing in place, the two can’t coexist without a significant pressure and strain on our system.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also called on the Trudeau government to end its Covid travel restrictions, including the ArriveCan app.
“It is clear that people want to travel,” said IATA regional vice-president for the Americas Peter Cerda. “We can therefore ill afford to have passengers subjected to unacceptable wait times both on arrival in the country or on departure.”
Many other countries have opted to return to a pre-pandemic normal by dropping all COVID-19 travel measures for visitors. These include Italy, Austria, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Sweden, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia.
It should, however, be noted that other countries, including the United States, continue to require a negative Covid test from air travellers in order to enter, as well as proof of vaccination for foreigners.