Canada may change border requirements by the end of September

Windsor-Detroit tunnel. July 2, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Border Services SOR)

There may be a change in how people cross the Canada-U.S. border as the two countries move on from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Globe and Mail, citing government sources, reported Tuesday evening that the federal government will drop the vaccine requirement to cross the border on September 30. Random testing of people entering Canada may also end that day.

The changes, covering land, sea, and air crossings, would also involve the increasingly unpopular ArriveCAN app, with its use becoming optional. People will still be required to wear masks on planes and trains.

These adjustments have not been finalized and must be approved by cabinet, The Globe and Mail reported. The sources cited confidentiality as they were not authorized to discuss the changes with the media.

The potential changes to the border-crossing requirements came on the same day as numerous mayors and federal representatives on both sides of the border signed an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and U.S. President Joe Biden, calling for the requirements to be relaxed.

The ArriveCAN app had been at the centre of scrutiny, with critics calling the app a hindrance to trade, business development, and tourism. Some had also blamed ArriveCAN for contributing to the bottlenecks seen at Canadian airports throughout the summer.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra defended the use of the app while on a visit to Windsor at the end of August, saying that it has been very effective at keeping the spread of COVID-19 under control.

“Courts, labour tribunals, and other bodies have looked at the justification for mandates and for other public health measures, and found them to be constitutional given the situation that we’re in,” said Alghabra at the time.