Even though PCR COVID-19 testing is hard to come by, the federal government says it is not planning to change its border testing rules for travellers Right now, it’s difficult to get a PCR test or timely results in many parts of the country and provinces are relying on rapid tests instead. However, the federal government is not budging on requiring departure and arrival PCR tests for travellers or proof of a positive PCR test for those who recently had COVID-19 but recovered.
Given the shortage, Beth Potter with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada argues the rules should be changed. We’d like to see the elimination of the PCR test and have it replaced with a rapid test, in addition to your proof of vaccination. The PCR test is onerous. It’s difficult to access,” Potter said. She believes PCR tests can be better used elsewhere.
“[There are] people that are at home, feeling ill. There are people that are working frontline and they can’t go and confirm they have Omicron or they have a cold or the flu. We need the tests at the community level,” she said.
Health Canada argues the PCR test is more sensitive and reliable and has been able to prevent a vast majority of positive cases from entering the country.
Children under the age of five do not have to be tested upon arrival into Canada. Travellers who can prove they tested positive for COVID-19 between 15 and 180 days before their scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing are also exempt from arrival testing.
While there are no changes now, Health Canada is not ruling out changing border rules in the future, as the pandemic evolves.