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COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers change in Canada, U.S.

U.S. to lift requirement that incoming travellers show negative COVID-19 tests; Canada to pause random testing for visitors
New York-based JetBlue launched non-stop flights between Vancouver International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport June 9 | JetBlue / Ian Duncan

Air travel in Canada and the U.S. is set to get simpler, less expensive and less stressful thanks to separate announcements June 10. 

The U.S. government is ending its requirement that international air travellers to the country show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day before boarding their flights. The measure is set to take effect on June 12 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (9:01 p.m. on June 11 Pacific Time).

The accepted antigen tests cost up to $100, and can cost much more, and they come with the risk that if the potential traveller does not pass, that person will not be able to take their flight. 

Proof of vaccination will remain required in order to fly to the U.S. 

Canada, meanwhile, plans on June 11 to pause its policy of randomly issuing COVID-19 tests to internationally arriving passengers. This pause is set to end on July 1. When Canada resumes randomly testing these passengers, the tests will be conducted in a location outside of airports in order not to disrupt passenger flow within airports. 

The travel industry has long been lobbying for Canada to stop testing arriving visitors

Canada, on April 1, ended its requirement that fully vaccinated travellers had to provide negative pre-entry COVID-19 test results in order to enter the country. At the same time, however, it kept random tests taken after passengers had arrived in Canada. 

Canadian airports in recent months have become congested, with long waits at ticketing counters and to get through security – partly because of a shortage of trained baggage-screening officers. Those waits played a role in Canadian government decision making. 

"The government of Canada recognizes the impact that significant wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travellers," Transport Canada said in a June 10 statement. "We continue to work with airports, airlines, baggage handlers, and other partners to implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season."

Tourism sector representatives told BIV this week that they expect a travel boom this summer for travellers in all budget ranges

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