Fully vaccinated Canadians returning from trips less than 72 hours after leaving the country won’t be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test when returning home.

Federal government sources, who spoke with Global News on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly, said the change will apply to Canadians and permanent residents.

However, fully vaccinated Canadians returning from trips longer than 72 hours will still be required to show proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon return.

A formal announcement is expected to be made on Friday, sources said. It is expected to come into effect in December.

The news, which was first reported by La Presse, comes after weeks of lobbying by business leaders and politicians to drop the testing requirements.

Currently, travellers must provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result taken within 72 hours of their scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing to enter Canada, or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days before travel.

Some private companies in the U.S. offer PCR tests for travellers for more than $200, which border town mayors have complained about as rules around travel eased.

“Are we going to force people to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars every time they want to come back to Canada with their family?” Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati previously told Global News.

“That’s the question that we’d like to know and we’re waiting for some answers.”

The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable on Wednesday reiterated calls to end the PCR test requirement, saying in a statement that the rule is leading international travellers “to do business elsewhere” and has “discouraged cross-border commerce, trade, and travel.”

Canadian public health officials have mused for weeks that testing requirements would be re-examined as the pandemic’s fourth wave settles to more manageable levels — meaning hospitalizations are down or level and can be accommodated by health-care systems.

Despite high vaccination rates nationally, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has said Canada’s pandemic will likely experience “a bit of turbulence” in new infections throughout the winter.

“I have to remind people that the pandemic is very much alive outside of Canada,” she said on Oct. 22.

“Many countries continue to require a pre-departure test, and it adds a layer of protection for any traveller – not just Canadians coming into Canada but travellers from any corners of the world, so it is something we will look at.”

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