Travellers will still have to take a test to return, but can get a cheaper antigen test

Sophia Harris · CBC News · Posted: Feb 15, 2022 12:19 PM ET | Last Updated: 26 minutes ago

The federal government announced on Tuesday that fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take a pre-arrival PCR test when returning home from abroad, as of Feb. 28. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)



Fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada will no longer have to take a pre-arrival molecular test — such as a PCR — as of Feb. 28, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced Tuesday.

Travellers will still be required to take a pre-arrival test, but they can instead opt for an authorized, lab-administered rapid antigen test taken no more than 24 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border.

Antigen tests are typically cheaper than a molecular test and can provide results within minutes. 

Also starting Feb. 28, unvaccinated children under the age of 12 entering Canada with fully vaccinated parents will no longer have to avoid schools, daycare or other crowded settings for 14 days, said Duclos.

Currently, travellers entering Canada must show proof of a negative molecular test taken within 72 hours of their departing flight or planned arrival at the land border. 

Fully vaccinated travellers may also be randomly selected for a PCR test upon arrival. Duclos said its arrival testing program will remain in effect, but travellers won’t have to quarantine while awaiting results.

Travellers pass through Toronto Pearson International Airport on Dec. 16, 2021. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ottawa is currently randomly testing thousands of vaccinated travellers daily upon arrival. Those who return from trips outside the U.S. must quarantine while waiting for results. Some travellers have reported waiting up to six days, or longer if they were given an at-home test, which must be shipped to a lab.

The government also announced plans to lift its current advisory against non-essential travel abroad

Duclos said the government is making the changes because of improving pandemic conditions.

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