Canada will not require masks on planes and drops vaccine mandate

Canada will not require masks on planes and drops vaccine mandate
A person wears a mask while walking past a flower display in front of a supermarket in Front Street East, Toronto (Alex Lupul /The Canadian Press/AP)

The Canadian government said it will no longer require people to wear masks on planes to guard against Covid-19.

Transport Canada said the existing rules for masks will end on October 1.

“We are able to do this because tens of millions of Canadians rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated,” transport minister Omar Alghabra said.

Government officials also confirmed Canada is dropping the vaccine requirement for people entering the country at the end of the month.

Canada, like the United States, requires foreign nationals to be vaccinated when entering the country.

No change in the mandate is expected in the US in the near future.

Unvaccinated foreign travellers allowed to enter Canada are currently subject to mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has agreed to let a cabinet order enforcing mandatory Covid-19 vaccination requirements at the border expire on September 30.

The removal of border measures has been facilitated by a number of factors, including modelling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4- and BA.5-fuelled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for Covid-19

The government is also ending random Covid-19 testing at airports.

Filling out information in what became an unpopular ArriveCan app will also no longer be required.

Some blamed it for delays at airports.

The government will also no longer need passengers to have pre-board tests for cruise ships.

“The removal of border measures has been facilitated by a number of factors, including modelling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4- and BA.5-fuelled wave, Canada’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalisation and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for Covid-19,” the government said in a release.

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