Canada’s Border Opening: What to Expect?

By Remitbee - Jul 28, 2021

It’s been a long 15 months, but finally, Canada is opening its borders.

The move comes after the government previously eased restrictions for Canadians. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have been properly vaccinated have been eligible to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement since July 5.

Half of all Canadians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and three-quarters of the population has received at least one dose. It won’t be exactly business as usual though, as many rules remain in place.

It’s time to start planning your travel, but where to start?

This guide is here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about what to expect from Canada’s planned border opening.

And, You need to know about - Changes to Family Exemptions for the Canadian Border

What’s new?

On July 19, 2021, the Canadian government announced the following three planned border changes for vaccinated foreign travellers.

Discretionary travel will be allowed for American citizens and permanent residents effective August 9 if they are vaccinated. All other foreign nationals who are properly vaccinated are allowed to travel to Canada starting September 7. All air travellers will no longer be required to stay in a hotel for the three-night stopover starting on August 9.

Flights from India are still suspended until August 21, 2021. Passengers travelling to Canada from India through an indirect route will need to get a negative COVID-19 molecular test result from a third nation before continuing their journey to Canada until this date. In addition to the new planned vaccine exemptions, beginning August 9, the government aims to implement a new monitoring programme at airports and land border crossings. Individuals who have been fully vaccinated will not require a post-arrival test unless they are randomly selected to perform a COVID-19 molecular test.

Another change is that more airports will open for international flights starting from August 9. These include Edmonton International Airport, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

General COVID-19 rules in Canada

Visitors, whether vaccinated or not, will be asked to follow the same regulations as Canadians. The Canadian government recommends wearing masks in public places, and several provinces, like Quebec and Ontario, continue to enforce mask mandates.

Regardless of immunisation status, air travellers entering Canada must wear a mask in Canadian airports and on flights to and from the country.

It’s best to look at the rules for the specific province you are going to visit or live in. For example, Calgary in Alberta has hosted the large event the Stampede, but Ontario has only just started allowing people to dine indoors.

Travellers coming from countries other than the United States For travellers who hope to enter Canada and have been vaccinated, it is now possible to start making travel plans. The important thing to note is that you must be vaccinated according to Canada’s standards to fall under the new rules.

Quick facts:

  • September 7 is the opening date for vaccinated travellers coming from a non-US country
  • Children under the age of 12 will be excluded from the quarantine requirement
  • Fully vaccinated travellers should still have a quarantine plan in place just in case
  • The hotel quarantine policy will be scrapped completely starting August 9
  • Even for fully vaccinated travellers, there are still no exceptions to pre-entry testing

Americans and travellers from the US

American tourists are big money for Canada. The 5 million American visitors to Canada spent $1.9 billion in 2019, making them the leader among other countries where tourists come from. So the opening is good news for both sides.

Quick facts:

August 9 is the date you can expect the border to be open for vaccinated Americans Americans who have completed a full course of vaccines authorized for use in Canada will not need to quarantine in Canada for 14 days

Like non-US travellers, American travellers will still need a test As of now, the US hasn’t reciprocated, unfortunately. So the same rules don’t apply for those in Canada hoping to travel south.

What counts as proof of vaccination?

Travellers from abroad entering Canada must provide documentation of having received a full round of one of the vaccinations approved for use in Canada. That proof can be in either English or French.

One of the biggest questions for travellers to Canada is: What vaccines are included?

Two doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They must have been administered at least 14 days prior to arrival. It makes no difference where travellers obtained their vaccinations.

To submit their information, all travellers must use the government's ArriveCAN service. Within 72 hours of arrival, all information must be supplied using the app. Travellers should also bring their vaccination paperwork with them to show officials at border entry points, as well as their test results and a list of close contacts and places visited.

Other things to keep in mind

Visitors exhibiting COVID symptoms will need to self-isolate. Fully vaccinated tourists will not need to quarantine upon arrival, but it is necessary that you have a backup quarantine plan in place to show.

Unvaccinated dependent children under the age of 12 will be allowed to enter Canada with a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, tutor, or guardian who is qualified to enter Canada.

Travellers will be expected to still adhere to a number of public health precautions, including retaining a copy of COVID vaccination paperwork and test results for 14 days after entrance and monitoring for any signs of COVID-19.

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