As of Oct. 1, travellers to Canada do not need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 — and wearing a mask on planes and trains is now optional, though it is still recommended.
People entering the country are no longer subject to random mandatory tests for the virus, and those who are unvaccinated will not need to isolate upon arrival.
Anyone who entered Canada in the last two weeks and was subject to quarantine or testing is off the hook as of today.
And inbound travellers do not need to fill out the controversial ArriveCan app anymore, although they can still use it to fill out their customs declarations at certain airports.
Federal ministers announced the end of the COVID-19 public health restrictions earlier this week, saying the latest wave of the disease has largely passed and travel-related cases aren’t having a major impact.
People using the Blackball Ferry, between Port Angeles and Victoria, on Saturday told CHEK News that the drop of restrictions made their trip very easy.
“We already had the ArriveCan app on our phones but we didn’t need it,” Jim Goettler, visiting from U.S.A. said. “It was nice. It’s like how it used to be.”
Maya Gillette, visiting Victoria from Seattle, said she brought her passport and that’s all she needed. She added the line-up in customs was very smooth and fast.
When it came to masking, Goettler said he brought his mask with him, but he only saw about two or three people wearing them on the boat.
The FRS Clipper, running between Victoria and Seattle, said it welcomes the change in restrictions.
“They have been a significant barrier to international travel between Seattle and Victoria,” Matthias Pahnke, CEO of FRS Clipper, said in a statement. “Additional staff was required to provide support with ArriveCAN, impacting our guest travel experience and slowing our path to business recovery. This decision by the Canadian government will help to get us back on our feet.”
He added the removal of restrictions also allows the company to make travel financially easier with the reduction of the health and security fee.
CHEK News did reach out to Blackball Ferry for comment, but has not received a response.
Rod Hunchak, with the Victoria Airport Authority, said the airport welcomes the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
In a statement, Hunchak said “as the aviation industry emerges from the devastating effects of the pandemic over the last two years, it is our hope that the removal of these restrictions will encourage the continued rebound of air travel at Victoria International Airport and across the country.”
Maya Garber-Yonts, visiting from Seattle, said it will encourage her to travel to Canada more.
“It was a factor earlier. Not only having to figure out what the restrictions were, but also the hoops you had to jump through to get approval,” Garber-Yonts added. “The system, not that it’s no longer in place, definitely makes it easier.”
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos warned restrictions could be brought back again if they are needed.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2022.