Beginning on Feb. 28, Canada’s federal government loosened some border measures instituted as part of the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In a Feb. 15 news release, the government described a “move towards a more sustainable approach to long-term management of COVID-19,” a positive sign that the country – and the world – may have finally gotten through the worst of the crisis.
Canada’s ability to transition towards fewer, less severe, restrictions is attributed to the following factors:
- High vaccination rates
- Readily available rapid tests
- Greater availability of treatments
- Fewer hospitalizations
Ease of travel is expected to improve greatly, and many people have started to book their vacations already, according to the Edmonton Journal. It’s highly advisable to speak with a travel counsellor before booking any sort of travel, as they can help explain exactly what to expect so that you are fully prepared for your trip.
Changes at the borders and airports
Complete information on travel, testing, and borders can be found on the Government of Canada website. The following changes were implemented as of Feb. 28:
- To help keep track of the movement of COVID-19, fully vaccinated travellers will be subject to random testing, but will not be required to quarantine while waiting for their results.
- Travellers can now present a rapid antigen test result from the day before the scheduled arrival date that has been authorized by the country in which it was purchased and administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service OR a molecular test result from a test taken 72 hours before scheduled arrival.
- Fully vaccinated travellers with negative test results are not required to quarantine upon arrival.
- Children under 12 travelling with fully vaccinated adults are exempt from quarantining for 14 days.
- Unvaccinated travellers must test on arrival, on day eight, and quarantine for 14 days.
- Remember that travel by cruise ship is still not recommended.
Canadians travelling internationally by air, land, rail or marine vessel must continue to use the ArriveCAN system to re-enter the country. If you fail to do so, you may be refused entry. Through ArriveCAN, travellers can register:
- Contact information
- Trip details
- Proof of vaccination
- Quarantine plan (if required)
If you travel often you may want to use the option to save your information for the future.
Travel insurance options should broaden
Also on Feb. 28, the Government of Canada adjusted its Travel Health Notice from a Level 3 to a Level 2. That removed the advisory that travel for non-essential purposes was not recommended. Canadians are still asked to use great caution when travelling and to research their places of destination thoroughly.
The move from a Level 3 to a Level 2 travel advisory also means that more travel insurance options will open up. Provided the place of destination is not at a level three or higher travel alert, coverage for incidences such as a delay in return should become more readily available. This will greatly assist those who discover they have tested positive right before leaving. It’s recommended that travellers pay very close attention to travel advisories.
Also, be sure to check to be sure there is emergency care coverage for COVID-19 in your travel insurance coverage. Some insurers will exclude the virus completely from their medical packages. A good travel insurance package such as those we offer here at Lane’s generally covers treatment up to $100,000 for COVID-19 and should specifically provide for COVID-19-related emergency medical expenses as well as any associated quarantine costs. In addition to protection against expenses involved with medical need and trip delays, we recommend policies with options for coverage for accidental death, baggage and personal effects, document replacement, and rental car damage.
Thinking of travelling? Talk to us at Lane’s
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage providing a comprehensive range of competitively priced insurance products. If you are thinking of heading out of the country, ensure to take the time to plan your trip carefully. Be aware of all travel advisory levels, what documentation is needed to cross borders, what sort of restrictions may in in place at your destination (for example, mandatory masking), and where you will be able to get your rapid antigen or molecular test before returning to Canada.