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Ottawa nixing molecular COVID test requirement for Canadians taking short trips abroad: sources

Sources say the change would impact trips under 72 hours

A passenger from Air India flight 187 from New Delhi arrives at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Wednesday April 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The federal government has been facing mounting pressure to drop the rule that requires travellers entering Canada to show proof of a molecular COVID-19 test.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Frank Gunn

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Fully vaccinated Canadians taking short trips abroad will soon no longer need proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test to return home, according to sources.

Sources, who spoke on the condition they not be named because they aren't authorized to speak on the record, said the government is only dropping the test requirement for Canadians and permanent residents for trips under 72 hours.

Molecular tests, like the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, will still be required for trips longer than 72 hours.

The change is expected to come into effect at the end of the month as cross-border shopping picks up before the holidays.

The news was first reported by La Presse. (new window)

The federal government has been facing mounting pressure to drop the rule requiring travellers entering Canada to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (new window) taken within 72 hours of their departing flight or planned arrival at the land border. 

People have reported shelling out between $150 to $300 for a test depending on where they're travelling from. Another complaint is that it can also take up to 24 hours — sometimes longer — for travellers to get their results.

The U.S. government has taken a different approach.

A woman gets a PCR test at a Miami-Dade County testing site. People have reported shelling out between $150 to $300 for a molecular test depending on where they're travelling from..

A woman gets a PCR test at a Miami-Dade County testing site. People have reported shelling out between $150 to $300 for a molecular test depending on where they're travelling from.

Photo:  Getty Images

Fully vaccinated air travellers entering that country must show proof (new window) of a negative COVID-19 test, but travellers can opt for a rapid antigen test — which costs as little as $20 and provides quick results.

The government is expected to make an official announcement on Friday.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos would only say an announcement is coming soon.

CBC News with files from Ashley Burke and Sophia Harris

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