Canada reopening border to fully vaccinated tourists

Shelby Thevenot, Mohanad Moetaz
Published: July 19, 2021

Canada is reopening the border to fully vaccinated tourists this summer.

Summary of new policies:

  • Fully vaccinated U.S. tourists can enter Canada starting August 9
  • Hotel quarantine policy ending August 9
  • Fully vaccinated children of Canadians, and other exempt travellers to have amended quarantine starting August 9
  • Fully vaccinated tourists from all countries can enter September 7
  • India flight ban extended to August 21
  • More airports accepting international flights

Provided the COVID situation is under control, Canada will start accepting U.S. citizens and permanent residents coming from the U.S. as soon as August 9. That same day, Canada will also be getting rid of the hotel quarantine for all travellers. The border will reopen to fully vaccinated travellers from all countries on September 7.

Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to do on-arrival and day eight testing, but they may be subject to random testing at the border.

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In order to be considered "fully vaccinated," travellers must have the recommended dosage of a vaccine approved for use in Canada. The final injection must have been received at least 14 days prior to entry. It does not matter which country travellers got their vaccines from. Currently, Canada accepts the following vaccine manufacturers: Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). All results must be presented in French or English, otherwise border officials will need to see a certified translation.

Before coming to Canada, all documents need to be submitted to the ArriveCan app or website. All travellers still need a 14-day quarantine plan.

The new measures do not start to come into effect until August 9 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time.

Government officials also confirmed Canada will be extending its ban on direct flights to India.

Measures for unvaccinated children

Canada will update the rules for children under age 12 who are not eligible for a vaccine. Starting August 9, unvaccinated dependents of fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to complete the full 14-day quarantine. Instead, they will have to follow public health measures for that amount of time. They will still be subject to all entry and testing requirements, including on-arrival and day eight testing. This includes those travelling from the U.S. for discretionary purposes. Officials also said that come September, when tourists from all countries are allowed to enter, these measures will apply to their unvaccinated children as well.

There is no list of activities that children can and cannot do at this time, but children will have to avoid group settings such as school and daycare in the two-weeks following their arrival to Canada.

Provinces and territories may have their own rules around people who have recently returned from travel. The government says more details will be available in the coming days.

Testing requirements

Starting August 9, Canadian citizens and permanent residents travelling to the U.S. for less than 72 hours can do their pre-entry arrival test in Canada. Meaning, they do not have to take a second test in the U.S. in order to be allowed back in.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 but continue to test positive can present their test taken between 14 to 180 days prior to arrival. Before, it was just 90 days.

Fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected for a on-arrival test.

There are no changes to mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated travellers will still have to undergo on-arrival and day-eight testing.

Proof of vaccination

On August 9, air carriers will verify travellers coming to Canada have submitted their information through ArriveCAN before boarding. Tourists who are not able to show their ArriveCAN receipt will not be allowed to fly. Airlines will accept the receipt either on their mobile device or a printed copy.

In addition to the ArriveCAN receipt, travellers are expected to carry their actual vaccine certificate with them to show officials at the border.

Non-essential travellers allowed to come August 9 only include fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents. They must be residents coming from the States. U.S. temporary residents do not fall under the exemption, nor do U.S. residents coming from a third country.

Travellers with a right to entry, such as Canadians and other travellers exempt from border restrictions, will have to submit information regarding their vaccination status via ArriveCAN, however they will not be denied boarding if this requirement is not met.

Eased quarantine based on vaccination status

Those who cannot be fully vaccinated due to health conditions may also qualify for eased quarantine requirements, but may be asked to follow a modified quarantine. The government says more details are forthcoming.

Travellers arriving to Canada by boat will be eligible for eased quarantine and testing if they meet the definition for fully vaccinated. They must also meet pre-entry testing requirements through ArriveCAN, however they can do it when entering Canada since there is no internet connection on the water.

Again, all travellers still need a quarantine plan prepared in case the border officer determines they do not meet the requirements for an exemption.

More airports accepting international flights

Also starting August 9, five more airports will once again accept international fights.

Airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton will now be open to international air arrivals. Passengers will still be expected to co-operate with public health guidelines.

Throughout the pandemic, the only airports accepting international arrivals were Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

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