On July 19, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada announced the easing of border measures for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States. The first of these changes will come into effect starting August 9, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. EDT, allowing fully vaccinated Americans to travel to Canada for discretionary or optional reasons including tourism, entertainment or recreation purposes. Travel to Canada for these types of discretionary reasons is currently restricted.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) travel on August 9, 2021, U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. must be fully vaccinated and currently residing in the U.S. This includes unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, or unvaccinated dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition) who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and accompanying a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, guardian or tutor who either has a right to enter Canada.
Fully vaccinated travellers are those who have received the appropriate number of doses of Canada-approved vaccines – or combination of vaccines – (AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
Eligible travellers must also:
- provide evidence supporting their full vaccination status in English, French or with a certified translation (along with the original);
- provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCAN (app or web portal) including proof of vaccination prior to departing for Canada (subject to limited exceptions);
- wear a mask in Canadian airports and on board flights to and within Canada;
- take a COVID-19 test with results 72 hours prior to travel to Canada; and
- be asymptomatic upon arrival.
Travellers still must have a suitable quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine for 14 days if they do not meet all of the conditions required to be quarantine exempt.
Upon arrival all travellers must follow public health measures in place, such as:
- monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19;
- wearing a mask when in public;
- and keeping a copy of their vaccination documentation and test results;
- keeping a list of close contacts and locations visited for 14 days after entry to Canada.
What Else do the Updated Measures Entail?
All travellers are still required to take a 72 hour pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test. However, effective August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers will not need to take a post-arrival Covid-19 test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test.
In addition to the four Canadian airports currently receiving international flights, the Government of Canada has allowed international flights carrying passengers to land at the additional five Canadian airports:
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
- Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport;
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and
- Edmonton International Airport.
The Canadian Government will eliminate the three-night government authorized hotel stay requirement for all travellers arriving by air as of 12:01 a.m. EDT on August 9, 2021.
Transport Canada will also remove the requirement for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) to perform pre-board temperature screening of passengers on all domestic flights and international departures (including Transborder), as well as airport workers.
When Will Travellers From Other Countries See Similar Rule Changes?
On September 7, 2021, Canada intends to open Canada’s borders to all fully vaccinated travellers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.
We will continue to monitor the restrictions and the exemptions as they are provided by the Federal Government.
The immigration group at MLT Aikins can provide guidance and assistance in ensuring that all prospective travellers are fully aware of their ability to travel and whether any exemptions apply.