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Fully vaccinated Canadians still need negative PCR test to return to Canada: Public Safety Minister

Windsor, Ont. -

When the United States border reopens to fully vaccinated Canadians for non-essential travel in early November, the country is not requiring Canadians to get a PCR molecular test to cross, but Canadians will still need a negative test to re-enter their home country.

“It has proven to be exceptionally effective in securing the safety and security and health of Canadians,” says Canada’s public safety minister, Bill Blair.

But finding a PCR or molecular test stateside isn’t easy.

“We have two employees that are on that side of the border that are hunting down two tests to come home and we’ve been at that since last night, and they’re still there this morning,” Laval Tool and Mould President Jon Azzopardi told CTV News Wednesday.

After searching for a test all the way from North Carolina to Michigan, Azzopardi says the workers finally made it home.

The experience, combined with dozens of other trips for employees, has Azzopardi and others concerned over the availability of tests.

“We have a lot to do between now and when that border opens that the supply and demand for tests are there and that the systems are in place to be able to manage it,” he says.

Aside from finding a test, he points out they don’t come cheap. A quick scan of U.S.-based clinics shows prices ranging from $125 to $350 (US), depending on how quickly the results are needed.

The president of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce says that’s a steep price for business owners to pay for a necessary trip to a customer which is still deemed ‘non-essential.’

“It’s not a small amount,” says Rakesh Naidu. “Sometimes they may need to send two or three people, that’s $750 just to get the PCR test.”

Windsor’s mayor believes the regulation will limit the number of people making day-trips to the U.S.

“You’re not going to run over to a Lions’ game, or a concert or even a trip to Costco or visit your parents for the day if you have to spend $200 to get a test in advance,” says Drew Dilkens.

Some are questioning the need for tests for double-vaccinated travellers.

“There are physical barriers like closed borders, but there are also administrative barriers, too. And i just think the testing requirement is redundant,” says Brian Higgins, A New York congressman who has been vocal about reopening the border over the past 12 months.

Higgins has calls into Canadian MPs to reconsider the testing requirement, but the public safety minister says it works.

“At the present time, the advice is we intend to retain it,” Blair says.

He noted Canadians do now have the option of getting a PCR test done in Canada. If they plan on taking a cross-border trip under 72 hours, the Canadian test will be accepted by the CBSA.

“That’s the new norm. So we need to normalize this process and make it easy,” says Stephanie Nazywalskyj, the director of strategic communications SRx Health, which has a location at 511 Erie Street E. now offering PCR tests.

She says you can book online for $150 bucks per test and get service within 15 minutes.

“This is a huge opportunity for Canadians to be able to go for their weekend ventures to the US and not have to deal with the stress of finding a place that’s doing testing in the states, of booking an appointment of paying any associated costs of having a delayed re-entry into Canada,” Nazywalskyj says. Top Stories

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