Travellers across Canada have expressed mixed reactions to news that Canada will likely be dropping its COVID-19 vaccine travel requirements.
The federal Liberal cabinet is considering whether to renew COVID-19 vaccine mandates and mandatory random testing for travellers, a senior government official told The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity.
The federal government has gradually scaled back COVID-19 travel restrictions over the course of the spring and summer, as booster shots became more widely available in Canada.
The current measures are set to expire on Sept. 30.
If the requirements are dropped, the ArriveCAN app, launched in April 2020, will likely also become "optional." The app has served as a tool for the federal government to screen travellers entering Canada for coronavirus as well as to ensure that they had suitable quarantine plans.
Once COVID-19 vaccination was required for travel, the app carried traveller vaccine information, too.
Vancouverites react that news that Canada to drop ArriveCAN
Many travellers consider the relaxation of the rules to be "progress," noting that the process has significantly slowed down tourism in the country. Others note that it has made it difficult for Canadians who are returning home.
After nearly 3 years of bullying and terrorizing the #unvaccinated, #TRUDEAU FINALLY allows unvaccinated #Travellers back into #Canada by scrapping #ArriveCan #TrudeauMustGo #border #canada https://t.co/OXe0nCYAzA— ULTRA UNACCEPTABLE-UNVAXXED (@ingridschaaf2) September 20, 2022
@JustinTrudeau The only thing Canadians are interested in at the moment is to hear your confirmation that your ArriveCan, random testing and vaxxing mandates are finally gone. While you are at it, explain why you are still keeping mask mandates on trains and planes. #cdnpoli— Marc Redwood (@RedwoodMarc) September 21, 2022
A Vancouver-based traveller shared a negative experience they had at YVR after being randomly selected for the off-site COVID-19 travel testing program. They claim that the "Lifelabs are understaffed" and you will "eventually get a test kit but [you] can’t go in person."
After booking an online appointment, the frustrated air passenger says a Lifelabs employee didn't show up for it. As a result, they called in and eventually got "supervised" over a phone call. Finally, they completed the test package and drove it to a nearby Lifelabs.
"Because the system shuts down [and] is inefficient you have basically spent [an] amazing amount of hours (mostly full day) for this process," they said, noting that travellers are "penalized with [a] 24 [hour] rush."
#arrivecan #covidtest #canada #canpoli Let me explain random Covid test selection for land crossing. Lifelabs are understaffed. You eventually get a test kit but can’t go in person. You book video appt online. Life labs don’t show up for online appt because understaffed. 1/2— deb gee (@debster_92) September 21, 2022
Many people have expressed concern about the ArriveCAN app becoming "optional," however. They say this might make it easier for the government to re-implement again in the future.
Arrivecan to be "optional"...what's this achieving ?— Craig H (@CraigH02779216) September 21, 2022
Liberals - "you will pry Arrivecan from my cold dead hands".
Some people don't mind having to fill out the ArriveCAN app, with several describing the process as "easy." That said, others have expressed that there should be some changes. Many of them say there should be a paper option.
I am fine with ArriveCAN if a paper option alternative exists, but should be for air only not land and as an alternative to filling out forms so only for modes of transport where forms used pre-pandemic not where they were not and paper option still available.— Miles Lunn 🇨🇦🇺🇦 (@mileslunn) September 21, 2022
Used ArriveCan for a trip across the border recently, and appreciated the option of submitting @CanBorder customs info in advance. Sailed through customs -- let's keep this option. Also hoping we'll keep the mask requirement on planes. https://t.co/yhEFHgm2Tv— Amper Sand (@DottNett) September 21, 2022
With a file from the Canadian Press.