In response to mounting resistance, Feds to lift PCR test requirement for short trips

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As reported in a previous article https://saultonline.com/2021/11/hesitant-border-crossing-saultites-you-may-be-able-to-get-a-free-covid-19-test-to-return-home-but-they-can-take-time/ SaultOnline reported a US Government funded program under which some Canadians have been able to obtain free testing to satisfy requirements to return to Canada after visiting the States.

Now, another media source has revealed a recent announcement made by the Federal Government.  The Canadian Government will be lifting the PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada after short trips, the media outlet has confirmed.

It is not yet clear when this change of border requirements will come into effect. Molecular tests, like the PCR test, will still be required for trips longer than 72 hours.

All travellers entering Canada, regardless of vaccination status, have been required to present proof of a molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of crossing the land border or boarding a flight.

These tests can cost anywhere between $150 to $300. Antigen tests, which generally only cost $40 to $60, are not accepted for entry in Canada.

For trips under 72 hours, travellers could take a COVID-19 test in Canada before departure under the current rules.

Pressure has been mounting on the federal government to lift the PCR test entry requirement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the issue with provincial and territorial premiers during a conference call on Tuesday.

“The consensus is a lot of premiers want to see that,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a news conference Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government would be announcing changes to COVID-19 health measures at the border “very soon.”

Trudeau is currently in Washington for the Three Amigos summit with U.S. and Mexican officials. Business leaders involved in the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable issued a news release on Wednesday calling for an end to pre-departure COVID-19 testing and streamlined border rules among the three nations.

“The leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico should prioritize removing friction from our mutual borders,” said Perrin Beatty, CEO and president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Getting rid of unnecessary and outdated travel rules will help Canada’s businesses get back to work — and compete.”

The U.S. also opened its land border for non-essential travel on Nov. 8. Fully vaccinated travellers crossing into the U.S. by land or ferry aren’t required to present a COVID-19 test result. For air travellers, antigen tests are accepted for entry into the U.S.

–with files from CTVnews.ca

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Heidi is an ascerbic and saucy wordsmith who was born in raised in Sault Ste. Marie where her love of words began at an early age, when she questioned the doctor who delivered her as to his techniques in the birthing room. She did graduate from York University with an Honours BA in English which was then put to use in the hospitality industry. She supplemented her formal education with training at Toronto's The Second City and graduated after two years of study. A professional improvisor, she doesn't shy away from asking hard questions and her innate curiosity has brought her to this new role, ready to serve the news seekers of Sault Ste. Marie and supply them with the salient facts and stories they are keen to know. She is active in her hometown community, enjoys being outdoors and is thrilled to be a part of the team at Superior Media.

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