Ottawa dropping costly COVID-19 testing for Canadians returning home, sources say

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Ottawa dropping costly COVID-19 testing for Canadians returning home, sources say
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The Canadian government is going drop the costly polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test for Canadians return to Canada, sources say.

Canadians and permanent residents will still have to get an antigen test when coming back from travel to the United States and other countries.

A PCR test will still be required for fully vaccinated Americans or other travellers coming to Canada, according to the sources. The Globe is not identifying the sources, who were not authorized to speak on the matter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who arrived in Washington for rounds of talks with Congressional leaders, and trilateral talks with President Joe Biden and his Mexico counterpart, is expected to make the announcement during his visit.

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U.S. congressional leaders have urged the Prime Minister to rescind Canada’s requirement that anyone travelling from the U.S. into Canada first submit to a costly polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test. The U.S. allows air travellers to use less-expensive rapid antigen tests, and it does not require vaccinated foreign visitors to present test results at its land borders. On Friday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and three other Senators – Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republicans Susan Collins and Mike Crapo – wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly urging Canada to do away with the PCR test requirement.

“We heard from constituents that the testing protocols required by the Canadian government to enter the country will make it very costly for individuals to travel between our two nations,” they wrote.

Mr. Trudeau will deliver remarks on Wednesday to the Wilson Centre and take questions.

Later, the Prime Minister will meet with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and other key members of the House of Representatives.

The Prime Minister will then meet with Mr. Schumer, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other key members of the Senate.

On Thursday, he has a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The three leaders will then meet together for a North American leaders summit, know as the Three Amigos.

The Prime Minister told reporters Monday that he intends to use his one-on-one time with Mr. Biden in the Oval Office to stress the economic vitality of continental trade and the importance of integrated supply chains, especially because the President seems intent on forging ahead with a “Buy American” strategy for the auto sector and infrastructure projects.

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