The federal government is expected to announce later this week that it will reduce negatives PCR test Global News is aware of the requirement for Canadians returning to Canada from the US for any trip of less than 72 hours.
The policy change will cover both citizens and permanent residents.
The new rules are expected to go into effect in late November or early December.
Any trip longer than 72 hours outside of Canada will still need a negative PCR test upon return.
But the requirement for a negative PCR test kept many Canadians at home, concerned about the additional costs of returning to Canada.
The United States has no testing requirements for crossing land borders. Travelers to the United States and Canada must demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Land border reopens
Right now, any traveler wanting to enter Canada must provide a negative PCR test done at their own expense and done no more than 72 hours before they arrive at the border.
BC Premier John Horgan described the fact that travelers can complete a test in BC, travel to the United States, and then use the test to return less than 72 hours later as “ foolishness”.
Horgan and the BC government have lobbied to remove the testing requirement for short trips.
“If we have double vaccination traffic across the border, then why do we need a testing regime? I think that’s outrageous and I’m going to take that case to the prime minister,” Horgan said earlier this month.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has called on the federal government to amend the PCR requirements.
Chamber CEO Perrin Beatty has advocated scrapping the PCR requirement altogether arguing that it’s not necessary to consider vaccination evidence.
Beatty has not heard from the federal government about the pending changes but supports any adjustment to the PCR testing requirement.
“Anything that lowers the level of demand here is fine, so that’s a step forward,” Beatty said.
“What it does is to remove an absurdity. But it leaves another absurdity. And it was the expert task force that, when they looked at it, said that border decisions should be based on vaccination status.”
US businesses told Global News that reopening land borders to non-essential travel has not brought in the number of Canadian visitors they had hoped for.
Brant Baron, owner of International mailbox in Blaine, Wash., said on November 8 it had been open for about an hour and had only four customers so far.
And they have packages to be received that have been there since the border closed to non-essential traffic in March 2020.
“Opening the border really didn’t make any impact on us,” he said.
BC visitor to Blaine says a PCR test costs about $150 and it seems to be a deterrent for most
“Those who have come in evenly, let’s keep talking about the $150, $200 PCR test. So as you can see, the impact is minimal. “
BC travel industry calls for end of border PCR requirement
More details on the change to a negative PCR test requirement have not been confirmed at this time, but more information is expected to be released later this week.
–With files from David Baxter
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8380444/canadian-government-negative-pcr-test-cross-border-trips-us/ | Government of Canada waives negative PCR test requirement for shorter cross-border trips: source