Canada to Loosen Border Restrictions Next Month—as Long as You're Vaccinated

It's also nixing that mandatory hotel quarantine

Man canoeing on lake, Jasper National Park, Canada
Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

After 16 months of being tightly buttoned up, Canada announced that it would begin to loosen its collar around border restrictions. The first folks in? Citizens and permanent residents from the U.S.

Yes, the long wait is finally over. Starting Aug. 9, 2021, fully-vaccinated U.S. travelers will be able to cross over into the Great White North for non-essential purposes. Entry from all other countries is tentative, dependent on the ever-changing status of COVID-19, but scheduled for Sept. 7—again for fully-vaccinated travelers only.

"Canadians' safety and security always come first. With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures,” said Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu. “A gradual approach to reopening will allow our health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 situation here and abroad. Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely."

To enter, travelers will have to show proof of being fully vaccinated by Canadian-approved vaccines not earlier than 14 days before arrival. However, the door is only open for those jabbed with vaccines recognized as legitimate by the Canadian government. These include only Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, and AstraZeneca.

That said, the Canadian government did nudge the door open a crack by stating they will allow unvaccinated children under 12 who are traveling with fully vaccinated adults into the country without the otherwise required 14-day quarantine.

Fully-vaccinated visitors will be exempt from the current three-night mandatory, travel-pays-all-expenses hotel quarantine—though, by Aug. 9, it would be a non-issue as Canada has also announced it will be ending the controversial hotel quarantine protocol that same day—for everyone.

According to the Government of Canada's official site, Canada will implement a new post-arrival testing protocol. Currently, all incoming travelers, regardless of vaccination status, are required to submit a negative pre-entry COVID-19 test result.

“Using a new bordering testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings, fully vaccinated travelers will not need a post-arrival test,” the site says of the change, “unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test.” Any unvaccinated travelers will still need to provide a pre-entry test result.

Canada will still require fully vaccinated travelers to provide any COVID-19-related information needed via the ArriveCAN app or web portal, be asymptomatic upon arrival, and have physical proof of their vaccination record available for inspection in either French or English. Anyone entering the country will also be required to follow any local guidelines, including mask mandates, throughout their stay.

"Thanks to the extraordinary commitment of Canadians to getting vaccinated and following public health advice, we are seeing improvement in the public health situation in Canada,” said Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Transport. “As a result, today we announced new steps in our reopening approach, including that international flights carrying passengers will be allowed to land at five more Canadian airports." 

These airports include Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Ottawa Macdonald—Cartier International Airport, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and Edmonton International Airport; and are in addition to the airports in Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver that are currently bringing in international travelers.