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Canada finally drops Covid vaccine requirement for entry at border 

Canada will finally allow foreign nationals who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 entry at its border from 30 September.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has signed off on the country lifting the vaccine requirement for entry at the border, an official told The Associated Press on Thursday. The Global Mail also says it has four sources that have confirmed the Canadian government plans to scrap the rule later this month.

Like the United States, Canada has only permitted entry for foreign nationals who have proof of vaccination against Covid-19. Reports state that “no change in the mandate is expected in the U.S. in the near term”, however Joe Biden recently made headlines for declaring that while Covid is still a problem, “the pandemic is over”, sparking hope among some that change will also impact the US. 

Change in Canada will likely be welcomed by the aviation and travel industries, who have been advocating for the relaxation of rules for international travel, warning the government they discourage visitors and are broadly out of step with many other countries post-pandemic.

The majority of European countries ended entry requirements related to Covid prior to the summer, in an effort to welcome back tourists after more than two years of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. 

Trudeau agreed to let a cabinet order enforcing mandatory vaccination requirements at the border expire on 30 September, according to the official who spoke to AP on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorised to speak publicly on the matter. The sweeping changes will affect arrivals at land, sea and airports. It is believed Trudeau’s government is still making a decision on whether or not to keep the requirement for passengers to wear face masks on trains and planes in place.  

While Trudeau needs to give a final sign-off on the major changes, according to sources, it’s expected the feds would drop the vaccine requirement and on the same day end random COVID-19 testing of arrivals at airports and make optional the ArriveCan app, which foreign travellers are currently required to download and use to upload proof of vaccination.  

There has been significant backlash against Trudeau’s liberal government’s enforcement of mandatory Covid-19 vaccination. While Trudeau claimed it was a “small, fringe minority” of people opposed to the mandates in place in the nation, Canada’s capital was gridlocked for weeks by protesting truck drivers, vocal in their opposition at the legislation that required people crossing the US-Canada border to be fully vaccinated.

“Canadian truckers rule,” world’s wealthiest man Elon Musk tweeted in support of the truckers in January. Supporters described it as the ‘Freedom Convoy’ and claimed it broke the world record for the longest chain of truckers in history. 

An Ipsos poll published in February and conducted exclusively for Global News found that nearly 46 per cent of Canadians, and a clear majority of younger Canadians (61 per cent of those aged 18 to 34), sympathised with the trucker protests, saying that the frustration of the truck drivers was “legitimate and worthy” of sympathy. 

Back in June, the government suspended vaccination requirements for domestic and outbound travellers, federal government employees and federally regulated industry staff, citing declining Covid cases and a national vaccination rate of 90 per cent.

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