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March 17, 2022 – Update by the provincial and federal governments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is a status report on the recent decisions and actions of the provincial and federal governments in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

End of pre-entry screening requirement for Canada

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, and Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, announced a significant reduction in the public health measures in place at the borders.

“The changes to Canada’s border measures are possible due to several factors, including Canada’s high vaccination rate, the increasing availability and use of rapid tests to detect infection, the decreasing hospitalizations and the increasing availability of treatments for COVID-19 in the country,” said Jean-Yves Duclos.

As of 12:01 a.m. EDT on April 1, 2022, fully immunized travellers will no longer be required to provide a pre-entry COVID-19 test result to enter Canada by air, land or water.

It should be noted that travellers could be randomly selected to undergo a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival. However, they will not be required to quarantine while awaiting the test result.

For partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers, the pre-entry requirements for Canada do not change. In particular, they will continue to be subjected to COVID-19 molecular testing upon arrival, on day 8 and while they complete their 14-day quarantine.

All travellers must continue to enter their required information into ArriveCan before arriving in Canada.

Modification of isolation instructions

Since March 12, most Quebecers, those who are vaccinated or who have already had COVID-19, no longer need to isolate themselves after household contact with a case of COVID-19.

However, these people must take steps to protect others for 10 days following contact:

  • Monitor symptoms
  • Wear a mask during any social interaction
  • Avoid close contact with other people, especially those who are at risk of developing severe illness
  • Test if symptoms appear

Unvaccinated people, who have not yet had a COVID-19 infection, are still recommended to continue to self-isolate for 5 days after household contact. For the next 5 days, these people should watch for symptoms, avoid contact with vulnerable people, and wear a mask during all social interactions.

End of the health emergency

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, introduced the bill to end the state of health emergency linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill’s main purpose is to maintain, until December 31, 2022, certain essential operational measures in terms of prevention, testing and vaccination to continue to protect the health of the population.

However, all population measures, such as the mandatory wearing of masks, will be lifted in the coming weeks.

“The population’s adherence to health measures, the vaccination coverage of Quebecers and the immunity conferred on a very large number of people who have been infected by the virus now mean that the disease no longer represents a threat of the same magnitude as before. This allows our government to lift the state of health emergency with the adoption of this bill,” said Christian Dubé.