Skip to content

Canada to remove all remaining COVID-19 requirements Oct. 1

Sept. 26, 2022
6 min read
toronto pearson airport
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

There’s big news for U.S. and Canadian travelers who frequently make their way between the two countries or U.S. travelers with trips north of the border planned in the near future.

Beginning this Saturday, Oct. 1, Canada will drop all of its remaining COVID-19-related restrictions.

That means even unvaccinated international visitors — including those from the U.S. — can enter Canada without undergoing any testing or screening. No travelers will have to prove their vaccination status before entering the country, either.

The lifting of restrictions also applies to mask requirements on flights out of Canada, which the country's biggest airline applauded Monday.

This set of changes, which comes months after Canada removed a majority of its pandemic restrictions, figures to simplify border crossings for those who regularly travel between the two countries.

“Thanks largely to Canadians who have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, we have reached the point where we can safely lift the sanitary measures at the border,” Canadian Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said in the news announcement Monday.

Canadian leaders pointed to lower case rates, improved variant-targeting vaccine boosters and COVID-19 treatment options as the basis for the decision.

Montreal's skyline in fall. EDUARDO FONSECA ARRAES/MOMENT/GETTY IMAGES

COVID-19 restrictions removed

After Canada reopened its borders to international visitors in 2021, a number of the restrictions that were in place as part of that reopening came off the books earlier this spring.

At the start of April, the Canadian government removed testing requirements for vaccinated visitors. Despite the change, a number of requirements remained in place.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

On top of requiring testing for unvaccinated visitors, everyone visiting Canada had to enter their information into the ArriveCan app, including proving vaccination status.

As certain requirements remained in place, travelers encountered extreme wait times when arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) this spring and summer, which airport officials told TPG were caused by health screenings and other virus-related protocols.

Some Canadian leaders shared further concerns that continued restrictions — however mild compared to the rules in place prior to this past spring — would dampen tourism, making U.S. visitors less inclined to travel across the northern border.

Concerns were exacerbated as the U.S. ended its mask and testing requirements for those entering the states.

“Unnecessary extra level of red tape for something that will not help anyone be any safer,” Jim Diodati, the mayor of Niagra Falls, Ontario, told TPG in an April interview about the continued protocols.

With Canada ending all such requirements, effective Saturday, travelers will no longer need to submit their information to the ArriveCan app in order to enter Canada.

On top of the end of vaccination and masking requirements for air, rail and ground travel, cruise passengers on voyages departing from Canada will also no longer face a government requirement for vaccination or mask-wearing.

Once October begins, travelers who had entered Canada in the previous 14 days will not be required to complete any outstanding quarantines.

Travel industry applauds news

Following Monday’s announcement, Air Canada officials were pleased by the decision to eliminate all remaining COVID-19-related requirements.

“We believe it will greatly facilitate travel,” Craig Landry, the Quebec-based carrier’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said Monday. He also alluded to some of the challenges faced by travelers in recent months in suggesting improved practices going forward.

“Lessons learned during the pandemic should now be applied to streamlining the air transport system in Canada and to enact further reforms,” Landry said, suggesting streamlined customs processes aided by technology, among other things.

He also called on Canada to develop new trusted traveler programs. The U.S., of course, has several such programs for travelers arriving from outside the country, most notably Global Entry.

For his part, Diodati said he’s “grateful” Canada’s border will “finally be fully open,” calling the move “long overdue,” since Niagra Falls’ tourism industry has continued to be significantly hampered by continued restrictions, he said.

Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ). ROBERTO MACHADO NOA/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES

Will this cut down on wait times in Canada?

For passengers who faced significant wait times when arriving at Toronto Pearson from outside Canada earlier this year, a big question now will be whether the elimination of pandemic requirements will lead to a better experience at the border.

While Pearson Airport officials told TPG Monday they were “pleased” by the Canadian government’s decision, they admitted some uncertainty over its effect on efficiency.

“It’s still too soon to gauge how these changes will impact the experience inside Pearson, but we believe the biggest change will come with the removal of the ArriveCAN app, which may lead to a faster customs process,” the Greater Toronto Airports Authority said in a statement to TPG.

Airport officials noted Pearson is continuing to “address the systemic challenges” it faces when it comes to staffing shortages, and a need to modernize its border processes — echoing comments from Air Canada officials.

Bottom line

Months after removing many of its COVID-19-related entry requirements, the Canadian government took the final step away from the protocols in removing all restrictions effective Saturday, Oct. 1.

While it remains to be seen what effect this will have on international arrival wait times at airports, particularly Toronto Pearson, there is optimism that the end of all restrictions should simplify things for travelers — especially those who like to fly or drive frequently between the U.S. and Canada.

Read more:

Featured image by ROBERTO MACHADO NOA/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023