First vaccinated travelers arrive to Canada without taking a PCR test this month

Apr 24, 2022 | International, News

Claudia Zepeda is a Mexican ophthalmologist specializing in retina care who arrived at Toronto Pearson Airport from Mexico City to meet with a colleague. It was the first time in two years that she jumped on a plane since the pandemic started.

Zepeda said she didn’t have any problems entering Canada on April 18. In fact, she said it was “pretty easy.”

The migration officer didn’t ask her where she was staying or for how long. It took approximately five minutes before the officer allowed her through to the baggage claim area.

She said she had to show her ArriveCan app where she previously uploaded her proof of vaccination, “and that was basically it.”

Zepeda said as a doctor, she was very careful to follow all prevention protocols and wore a surgical mask, but she didn’t feel at risk at any moment during her flight or arrival to Canada.

“At the end of the day, the Canadian mandates weren’t there to protect international travelers like me,” she said. “The purpose of those restrictions was to protect the people inside the country from the COVID-19 virus.”

Zepeda said after she’s done with her work meeting, she’s going to stay in Toronto for three more days to tour the city.

Since the beginning of April, international vaccinated travellers were able to enter Canada without a COVID-19 test.

The current requirements to enter the country as an international traveler are to wear a mask and submit proof of vaccinations with a quarantine plan in case of getting randomly selected to take PCR test at the airport.

In many countries, the mid-winter break is between April 11 and April 24. Many tourists are taking this opportunity to visit countries like Canada.

For international students beginning the summer semester in May, like Paulina Vera, the lifting of mandates made her moving process easier.

“Leaving your country is hard enough,” she said. “I think you don’t realize the amount of paperwork you have to do before coming here, so not doing the PCR test was a thing less on my list.”

She is moving from Veracruz Puerto, a major port city in the Gulf of Mexico, and had to travel through Mexico City.

Vera said the plane was full but mainly with English-speaking people who appeared to be returning home from vacation.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary, there were 5,038 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported on April 20, that’s 369.5 per cent more than the day before that reported 1,073 cases.