Canada set to announce new travel rules as soon as tomorrow

Kareem El-Assal
Published: July 18, 2021

Canada could announce its new COVID-19 travel measures as soon as tomorrow.

Canada introduced travel restrictions in March 2020 and has been extending them on a monthly basis throughout 2021. The country has taken a gradual approach to lifting restrictions.

Generally speaking, those now allowed to travel into the country include Canadian citizens, permanent residents, new immigrants, temporary foreign workers, international students, and family members of Canadians.

Those who remain excluded include tourists from the U.S. and tourists from the rest of the world. Flights to Canada from India have been banned since April.

The border restrictions expire on July 21 however prime minister Justin Trudeau's office said Thursday night that the new rules would be announced "early next week" which suggests the measures will be public by Tuesday at the latest, a day before the current measures expire.

Thanks to the statement by Trudeau's office, we now have a strong sense of what the new rules will entail. The one uncertainty remains India, with the Canadian government remaining coy on when it plans to lift its India flight ban.

What we do know is the government's intentions on allowing tourists into the country.

Trudeau's office says its goal is to allow fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents to enter the country as tourists by mid-August.

It is seeking to welcome fully-vaccinated tourists from the rest of the world by early September.

The caveat is that this depends on Canada maintaining its high rate of vaccinations and keeping its COVID-19 case count low.

Following a slow start Canada has emerged as a global leader in vaccination rates. Canadian government data show some 80 per cent of Canada's 12-years-and-older population has received at least one vaccine dose while over 40 per cent are fully vaccinated. July 15 data shows Canada recorded over 400 new COVID cases the prior day.

Canada's daily COVID case count was at its highest in April 2021 when it exceeded 9,000 new daily cases. However a stronger vaccine supply has resulted in lower cases and provinces across the country relaxing their social distancing guidelines.

Last month Canada announced that all Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) Holders (i.e., newly approved immigrants) were exempt effectively immediately from its travel restrictions. Earlier this month Canada implemented a new policy exempting fully-vaccinated travellers from needing to quarantine.

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