Canada-U.S. border rule change: Fully vaccinated Americans can come to Canada August 9, hotel quarantine will be eliminated

The federal government announced Monday that as of Aug. 9, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents who currently reside in the U.S. can travel to Canada for non-essential purposes.

As of the same date, the government authorized hotel quarantine requirement will be eliminated for all travellers, allowing unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers to go straight to their quarantine location for 14 days.

COVID-19 pre-departure testing will be be required, regardless of vaccination status, but on Aug. 9, testing will shift to a mandatory, randomized model upon entry into Canada for fully vaccinated travellers.

"This shift allow us to focus efforts on unvaccinated travellers, while still keeping track of new variant," Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said at a press conference on Monday.

On Sept. 7, fully vaccinated travellers from any country will be allowed to come to Canada for non-essential purposes, with proof of vaccination.

A traveller is considered fully vaccinated after they have received a full series of Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering the country. Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 and dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition) of fully vaccinated travellers do not need to quarantine for 14 days, but need to avoid group setting like summer camps, daycares and schools for 14 days.

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, and airport workers, on Aug. 9.

Beginning on the same date, international flights will be permitted to land at the following five additional Canadian airports, in addition to Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport:

  • 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.

Traveller coming to Canada, in addition to the pre-departure testing requirement, must provide submit their information, including proof of vaccination, prior to departure electronically through ArriveCAN, and must be asymptomatic upon arrival. Each traveller needs to also have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French (or certified translation, along with the original) to show border official on request.

Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, confirmed that all travellers must present a suitable quarantine plan, in case it's determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions to be exempt from quarantine.

"Without this proof of vaccinated submitted in advance through ArriveCAN, foreign nationals travelling for non-essential purposes will not be allowed to board a flight to Canada," Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, said on Monday.

Can Canadians travel to the U.S.?

Blair stressed that while Canada will be loosening restrictions for American citizens and permanent residents to travel to Canada for non-essential purposes, the U.S. has not announced reciprocal rules at this time.

Blair confirmed that he has spoken to Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, who indicated that the current restrictions on incoming Canadian travellers to the U.S. will "likely be rolled over" on Jul. 21 and there are no plans to make any change.

"The earlier start date of Aug. 9 for fully vaccinated American citizens permanent residents is an acknowledgement and recognition of our shared border and our close relationship with the United States," Blair said. "It will give the opportunity to test our processes and the ensure that they are effective in maintaining the health and safety of Canadians.

Some Canadians have already taken to social to comment on the upcoming change in restrictions for U.S. travellers coming to Canada.

Ban on flights from India continues

Alghabra also confirmed that the existing ban on direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India is being extended for another 30 days, until Aug. 21.

"This extension is based on the advice received from the Public Health Agency of Canada and will best protect Canadians from an increased introduction of the Delta variant, which is prevalent in India," he said.

Some people also took to social media to question the extension of the flight ban.