Following a report that members of U.S. Congress are sending letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking Canada to drop its testing requirements at the land border, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, speaking to journalists on Thursday (Oct. 14) said Canada’s testing rules are here to stay. For now.
“The rules are the rules,” said Freeland, who is Washington, D.C., this week, “and Canadians should expect to follow them.”
On Nov. 8, the U.S. will open both its land and air borders to vaccinated foreign national travellers, White House officials announced on Friday (Oct. 15).
There will be no testing requirement for fully vaccinated Canadians entering the U.S. by land, officials confirmed earlier this week.
This differs from Canada’s policy – as part of its decision reopen its side of the border to Americans on Aug. 9, the country requires Americans to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival.
Boards of trade, politicians and tourism organizations in both the U.S. and Canada have called on Canada to eliminate its testing measures entirely.
"Testing is redundant," New York Rep. Brian Higgins said Thursday.
Proof of vaccination should be enough, he said.
But Freeland, yesterday, indicated that Canada won’t be doing away with border testing anytime soon.
“Canadians do need a valid PCR test to go back to Canada. I had my test done to go home this afternoon,” said Freeland.
“I really believe that when it comes to finishing the fight against COVID, the Canadian approach, which has been to follow science, to follow the recommendations of public health authorities, and to err on the side of caution has served us really, really well.”
Canada Border Services Agency, on Thursday, issued a news release stating that current measures — including testing requirements — are still active.
“The Canada Border Services Agency would like to remind travellers that border measures remain in place for travellers entering or returning to Canada and that they should get informed and understand their obligations as they make their travel plans,” the release read.
For air travel into the U.S., starting Nov. 8, all foreign travellers must show proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of their flight.
It is not clear yet if the U.S. system will accept mixed doses.
There are at least 3.88 million fully vaccinated Canadians who received two different kinds of COVID-19 vaccines, reports the Canadian Press, and that doesn't include people in Quebec, which does not categorize data by vaccine product.