Skip to content

Loosening of federal border measures announced

Brendan Sheridan

Canada has continuously had border measures and pre-travel requirements related to COVID-19 in place since the beginning of the Pandemic. Due to recent data indicating that the latest wave of COVID-19 has passed its peak in the country, the Government of Canada has recently announced a series of adjustments to the border measures currently in force. These adjustments represent a phased approach by the Government of Canada to easing the travel restrictions.

As noted in the news release from the Public Health Agency of Canada, these adjustments will be coming into force as of February 28, 2022 at 12:01 am EST. The relevant adjustments to border measures aimed at easing the travel restrictions are discussed below.

On-Arrival Testing

The Government Canada has been randomly conducting on-arrival testing for fully vaccinated foreign nationals arriving in Canada since late 2021. While this random on-arrival testing is slated to remain in place for the time being for fully vaccinated travellers, as of February 28th fully vaccinated travellers who are selected will no longer need to quarantine while awaiting their test results. This is welcome news as some individuals who were tested have reported waiting upwards of 5 to 6 days for their results.

Unvaccinated travellers who meet one of the limited exemptions to enter Canada will continue to be required to test on arrival, and on Day 8 and will need to comply with the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

Children Under 12 years old

Children who are under 12 years old who are travelling with fully vaccinated adults will also benefit from the easing of the COVID-19 related restrictions. Specifically, Children under 12 will continue to be exempt from the quarantine if they are if they are travelling with fully vaccinated adults, but will no longer have any conditions limiting their activities during their first 14 days in Canada. For example, unvaccinated children under 12 previously needed to wait 14 days before attending school, camp or daycare. As of February 28th, these conditions are no longer in force and children can attend these activities without the waiting period.

Pre-Travel COVID-19 Test

Potentially the most impactful adjustment is that the Government of Canada is allowing more flexibility in the COVID-19 test options to meet pre-entry requirements. Currently, the travel restrictions require that all individuals entering Canada must have a COVID-19 molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.

As of February 28th, travellers will now have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result or a molecular test result to meet pre-entry requirements. If a traveller is relying on a rapid antigen test result to enter Canada then this test must be taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry and it must be a test that is authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity or telehealth service. While there is additional flexibility with allowing antigen tests, it is very important to note that taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient to meet the pre-entry requirement.

If a traveller uses a COVID-19 molecular test to meet the travel restrictions then they must still meet the current requirements. This includes that the test is one of the approved COVID-19 molecular tests and that it is taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border or marine port of entry.

Travel Health Notice and Notice to Airmen

Canada will also be adjusting the Travel Health Notice and will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes. Travellers should still take the necessary precautions, but the Government of Canada will not longer actively be recommending against non-essential travel.

Also, Transport Canada’s Notice to Airmen will be expiring on February 28, 2022 at 4:00 pm EST. This notice has restricted where international passenger flights were able to arrive in Canada. Its expiration means that international flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at all remaining Canadian airports that are designated to receive international passenger flights.


After almost two-years of COVID-19 related border measures, we are beginning to see adjustments made to lighten the travel restrictions. This is a welcome reprieve for many travellers as it provides more flexibility in planning their travel to Canada. It is important to note that while these restrictions are coming into force on February 28th, they can revert quickly as we saw in December 2021 due to the Omicron variant’s emergence. As such, it is vital that you remain up to date on what is required and expected of you on the date you plan to travel to Canada.

Our immigration group would be pleased to advise on these travel requirements.

This client update is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about the above, please contact a member of our Immigration group.


Click here to subscribe to Stewart McKelvey Thought Leadership.



Search Archive

Generic filters


New reporting requirements for beneficial ownership of Nova Scotia companies

March 28, 2023

By Kimberly Bungay On April 1, 2023, the Nova Scotia government will proclaim into force Bill 226, which amends the Companies Act (the “Act”) to require companies formed under the Act to create and maintain…

Read More

Abuse of sick leave / failure of employee to participate in accommodation process: Vail v. Oromocto (Town), 2022 CanLII 129486

March 21, 2023

By Chad Sullivan and Kathleen Starke Background A recent decision, Vail v. Oromocto (Town), 2022 CanLII 129486, involved several grievances including an unjust dismissal claim by a firefighter as well as a grievance filed by…

Read More

Underused Housing Tax Act introduces new tax on vacant or underused housing

March 13, 2023

By Stuart Wallace and Kim Walsh On January 1, 2022, the Underused Housing Tax Act (the Act) took effect. The Underused Housing Tax (the UHT) is an annual 1% tax on the value of vacant or…

Read More

Parlez-Vous Francais? Recent amendments to Quebec’s Charter of the French Language may impact Atlantic Canadian businesses

March 7, 2023

By: David F. Slipp and Levi Parsche In May 2022, Bill 96 was adopted by Quebec’s National Assembly, significantly amending the Charter of the French Language (the “Charter“). The amendments create new requirements for using…

Read More

The Winds of Change (Part 7): Paying the Piper: New Newfoundland and Labrador Fiscal Framework expects billions in revenues from wind to hydrogen projects

February 24, 2023

By Dave Randell, G. John Samms, and Stuart Wallace With the deadline for bids on crown lands available for wind energy projects extended to noon on March 23rd, the latest development in our Winds of…

Read More

Retail Payments Activities Regulations released and open for comment

February 14, 2023

By Kevin Landry and Colton Smith The Retail Payment Activities Regulations have been released in the Canada Gazette Part 1 for comment. Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed regulations for a period of 45…

Read More

Outlook for 2023 Proxy Season

February 13, 2023

By Andrew Burke, Colleen Keyes, Gavin Stuttard and David Slipp With proxy season once again approaching, many public companies are in the midst of preparing their annual disclosure documents and shareholder materials for their annual…

Read More

Open work permits for dependent family members of foreign workers

February 9, 2023

By Brittany Trafford and Sean Corscadden In response to the nationwide labour shortage, the Federal government is allowing select family members of foreign workers to apply for open work permits. This temporary policy came into…

Read More

Change to Ontario Employment Standards: IT consultants and business consultants excluded from ESA

January 19, 2023

Mark Tector and Ben Currie Effective January 1, 2023, amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) took effect, excluding “business consultants” and “information technology consultants” from the application of the ESA. This is a…

Read More

Land use planning in Prince Edward Island – the year in review

January 13, 2023

By Perlene Morrison, K.C. and Curtis Doyle Once again, the time has come to review the year that was and to chart the course for the year ahead. For municipalities and planning professionals in Prince…

Read More

Search Archive

Generic filters

Scroll To Top