Canada joining the stampede of nations dropping COVID travel restrictions

masked passenger in airplane cabin

Ottawa’s worst-kept secret is now official. The federal government of Canada announced Monday that it will remove all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada, effective October 1, 2022.

In a release, the government said that several factors lead to the decision to lift border measures, including modelling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 wave along with the country’s high vaccination rates, lower hospitalization and death rates, as well as the availability and use of vaccine boosters (including new bivalent formulation), rapid tests, and treatments for COVID-19.

Effective October 1, 2022, all travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:

  • submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website
  • provide proof of vaccination
  • undergo pre- or on-arrival testing
  • carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation
  • monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada.

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, 2022, travellers will no longer be required to:

  • undergo health checks for travel on air and rail
  • wear masks on planes and trains.

Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journeys.

Cruise measures are also being lifted, and travellers will no longer be required to have pre-board tests, be vaccinated, or use ArriveCAN.  A set of guidelines will remain to protect passengers and crew, which will align with the approach used in the United States.

The government is still recommending that individuals should not travel if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If travellers become sick while travelling, and are still sick when they arrive in Canada, they should inform a flight attendant, cruise staff, or a border services officer upon arrival. They may then be referred to a quarantine officer who will decide whether the traveller needs further medical assessment as COVID-19 remains one of many communicable diseases listed in the Quarantine Act.

The Government of Canada also reminds travellers to make informed decisions when considering travel outside of Canada to protect their health and safety. They are encouraged to review the travel health notices at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories for more information on safe travel.

While some observers believe the decision by the ruling Liberal government is motivated by domestic politics, and that may be part of it, the truth is that a long list of countries have been lifting their own travel restrictions in recent weeks.

What will be interesting is if the pandemic, which World Health Organization officials have warned the rich countries of the world is not over,  spawns more virulent variants. How quickly will governments be willing to reimpose travel restrictions?

 

 

Daily travel news for 2022-09-21: Ottawa mulls ending COVID travel restrictions, Flying like a human and Maine’s last steamboat

Montreal Trudeau airport welcome to Canada sign
    • It sounds like Ottawa will be lifting most of its COVID-era border restrictions by the end of the month. https://t.co/AeeOPbZ28n
    • This Maine lake was once a tourism hotspot where people would sail on one of its many steamboats, but today only one remains… https://t.co/NFXTLszCvF
    • If you are considering #travel this winter, book now before the lifting of COVID restrictions causes demand (and prices) go insane… https://t.co/UhYntng3uL
    • I love this story about an airline worker who babysat a passenger’s pet fish for four months because she wasn’t allowed to take it onboard… https://t.co/Srh4IvtnUv

 

What would the Northern Lights look like to the colourblind?

Northern Lights glasses for the colourblind

If you’re lucky enough to have seen the Northern Lights, you know how  colourful they can be, but if you’re one of the many people who are colourblind, you can’t really enjoy this natural display to its fullest.

Travel Yukon and EnChroma, a leading producer of glasses for colourblindness and low vision, decided to do something about that. They teamed up to make the show-stopping Aurora Borealis more accessible than ever before for the colourblind, and provided one Canadian with the chance to see it in full colour for the first time.

Russell Basilio experiences colourblindness. He sees colour in dull hues, especially red and green, which leaves him to interpret the beauty of the world through shapes and textures. In order to demonstrate the power of this new accessibility, Travel Yukon took Russell on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to experience the northern lights in their truest colourful form.

“Growing up colourblind I always knew I saw the world differently. My sister would describe things to me like the northern lights, but I never really understood what that meant,” said Russell Basilio. “To experience the northern lights in colour with my sister by my side was a gift.”

“With dynamic lights and fantastic hues of greens, purples and reds, the northern lights are one of Yukon’s most beautiful natural phenomena,” said Robin Anderson, Global Marketing Manager at Travel Yukon. “We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked with EnChroma to allow Russell to discover what makes the Yukon one of the best places in the world to experience incredible northern lights viewing.”

Special optical filters in EnChroma glasses expand the range of colours someone who is colourblind can see and make colours more vibrant, clear and distinct to help them experience more of life’s colourful moments and overcome challenges while travelling and in daily life. By coming together, EnChroma and Travel Yukon were able to provide Russell with a week of colourful moments that will last a lifetime.

You can learn more about Russell’s adventure at  https://www.travelyukon.com/en/northern-lights-in-colour.

British tabloids will always be there to feed our fascination with royal travel habits

Queen Elizabeth on a train

As one of the first travel influencers, Queen Elizabeth’s travel habits were of particular interest to the British tabloid press, but even with her passing, you can be sure that this peculiar type of story will continue.

The Express will be there to publish the  packing tips of style icons Kate and Meghan and the Mirror is ready to tell you that the Princess of Wales’ clothing get its own seat on the plane so that nothing is wrinkled.

If you don’t have the budget to buy an extra seat for your clothing, they will tell you that Kate suggests only packing clothes with synthetic fabrics in order to avoid having to iron anything.

Need tips for travelling with kids? Hello Magazine has reported that William likes to show the kids maps of where they’re travelling in order to get them excited and while they’re in transit, the royals don’t mind using iPads to keep the little ones entertained. And just like parents everywhere, they claim they do their best to limit their screen time.

The question is, will people be as interested in King Charles III’s travelling habits as his mother? Will Charles travel with his own tea kettle and Twinings Earl Grey tea as she did?

The Queen did travel with her own blood supply and personal doctor, so that’s probably going to continue with the new king, but will he have his own royal toilet paper?

If there’s one bit of royal travel advice that all travellers should heed, the the Express repeated a quote from the Queen’s husband, the late Prince Phillip: “Never pass up a chance to go to the loo or take a poo.”

 

 

 

Updated rules offer Canadian travellers more protection from flight cancellations and delays

New regulations took effect in Canada today that require airlines to provide passengers with either a refund or rebooking, at the passenger’s choice, when there is a flight cancellation, or a lengthy delay, due to a situation outside the airline’s control.

The new rule is an update to the the Air Passenger Protection Regulations formulated by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) in 2019. It applies to all flights to, from and within Canada, including connecting flights.

Until now, the Air Passenger Protection Regulations only required refunds to be provided for flight disruptions within the control of airlines.

The new regulatory requirements:

  • Require airlines to provide a passenger affected by a cancellation or a lengthy delay due to a situation outside the airline’s control with a confirmed reservation on the next available flight that is operated by them or a partner airline, leaving within 48 hours of the departure time indicated on the passenger’s original ticket.
  • If the airline cannot provide a confirmed reservation within this 48-hour period, it is required to provide, at the passenger’s choice, a refund or rebooking;
  • Identify what costs must be refunded (unused portion of the ticket, which includes any unused add-on services paid for);
  • Identify the method to be used for refunds (same as the original payment, e.g., a return on the person’s credit card);
  • Require airlines to provide a refund within 30 days.

“The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a gap in Canada’s passenger protection framework, with flights delayed or cancelled due to situations outside an airline’s control and where carriers could not rebook passengers within a reasonable time, like a global pandemic. These new regulations will correct this gap,” said The Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, in a release.

“These new requirements provide clarity around timing, cost coverage, method of payment, and deadlines to refund travellers in such situations.”

While many people welcome the new rules, others are critical of them, saying that they still offer airlines wiggle room to avoid refunding passengers while the airlines themselves think they are being unfairly punished for things they cannot directly control.