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COVID-19 ArriveCan travel rules could change soon: 'We're in a different era,' top epidemiologist Isaac Bogoch says

·4-min read

Canada’s controversial and mandatory ArriveCan app, along with COVID-19 vaccine requirements at the border are set to be dropped by the end of the month, according to several reports.

According to a report in The Globe and Mail, the new protocol will go into effect as of Sept. 30., though the decision has not yet been finalized.

That would mean that those travelling into Canada by air, sea port or land would have the option to use the app, though those who chose not to would not be subjected to a fine.

In terms of dropping vaccine requirements to enter into the country, Canada would be following the lead of many European countries, which have dropped such entry restrictions earlier this year.

Mask requirements for travel on trains and planes are said to be remaining in place, according to sources who spoke to the Globe.

The ArriveCan app required those travelling into Canada from abroad to submit information about pre-entry test results, contact and travel details, as well as test, travel and quarantine plans prior to entry. Those who failed to do so were subjected to a $5,000 fine.

Toronto-based epidemiologist Isaac Bogoch says it’s time for these amendments to be implemented since the virus has changed and the pandemic has unfolded. As a result, policy needs to be updated.

“It’s reasonable to update this policy and some will say the writing was on the wall and this could have been done several months ago,” he tells Yahoo News Canada.

He adds that ArriveCan has proven to be cumbersome for those who don’t speak French or English, or aren’t technologically savvy, and those challenges pose a barrier.

When it comes to whether dropping the vaccine requirements at the border will have any meaningful impact on COVID-19 in Canadian settings, Bogoch says no.

“Even when we had hotel quarantine and had our borders shut down, we still had people bringing COVID into Canada,” he says.

We’re in a different era…there’s still going to be waves and COVID and it’s still going to disproportionately impact vulnerable and elderly communities.. But changing this policy won't have any meaningful change to that.Isaac Bogoch, Epidemiologist

Online, many were happy with the news.

Others felt having the option to use ArriveCan was helpful.

Vaccine requirements were suspended in June for those travelling within Canada as well as though travelling outside of the country.