Canada to lift COVID vaccine requirement

Starting next month, thousands of commuters who drive from Detroit to Windsor daily will likely no longer have to prove their vaccination status at the Canadian border as officials are expected to drop the vaccine requirement for people entering Canada by the end of September.

Citing “an official familiar with the matter,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Canadian government will likely end random COVID-19 testing at airports, in addition to dropping the vaccine requirement for entry to the country. Filling out information in the ArriveCan app will also no longer be required.

Canada’s vaccine requirement prompted a nationwide protest by thousands of truck drivers who opposed the mandate. In February, a convoy of truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge for a week, shutting down traffic while impacting auto production and other industries.

Anti-mandate protesters are seen on Huron Church Road  blocking traffic near the Ambassador Bridge on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.

More than 40,000 commuters, tourists and truck drivers carrying $323 million worth of goods typically cross the Windsor-Detroit border each day.

Canada, like the United States, requires foreign nationals to be vaccinated when entering the country. It is not immediately known whether the U.S. will make a similar move by Sept. 30.

Unvaccinated travelers who are allowed to enter Canada are currently subject to mandatory arrival tests and a 14-day quarantine.

The AP, citing its Canadian source, reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is likely to sign off on lifting the vaccine requirement. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, talked to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Unvaccinated professional athletes like major league baseball players would be allowed to play in Toronto in the playoffs should the Blue Jays make the postseason. They currently are not allowed to cross the border into Canada.

When new populist Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre was announced as the party’s leader in Ottawa this month the loudest cheer he got from supporters was when he said he would get rid of the ArriveCan app.

Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, as well as a professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, said removing the vaccine requirement should have been done a long time ago.

“Zero benefit to ensure people vaccinated. It doesn’t keep cases nor variants out,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed.