July 31, 2021

Traveling to Canada during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Canada’s Covid-19 situation continues to improve and it’s now reporting about 600 cases a day on average.

The Canadian government announced it’s easing its mandatory two-week quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated nationals and residents arriving in the country after traveling abroad. This will come into effect just before midnight on July 5.

People older than five flying into Canada are required to provide written or electronic documentation showing they received a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR or RT-LAMP test conducted within 72 hours before their scheduled boarding.

Most incoming air travelers are required to take an additional Covid-19 test when they land and quarantine in a government-supervised hotel for up to three days at their own expense while awaiting the results.

If the test comes back negative, they can spend the remainder of their 14-day quarantine period at home.
When the new rules come into play on July 5, Canadians and permanent residents who’ve received a full course of a coronavirus vaccine accepted by the government can leave isolation early of if they test negative for Covid on entry and no longer need to stay in a government-supervised hotel.

The policy changes do not apply to fully vaccinated foreign nationals, including US citizens.
The US, Canada border remains closed to foreign nationals and nonessential travel until at least July 21.
Meanwhile, Canada has extended its ban on passenger flights from India for an additional 30 days, until July 21, 2021, though it has lifted its ban on flights from Pakistan. Travelers who depart from India but arrive in Canada via an indirect route will need to obtain a negative COVID-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.

As for travelers arriving by land, all visitors — with some exceptions — are required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days before arrival.

The Canadian government announced no cruise ships will be permitted to sail in Canadian waters until at least March 1, 2022.

What’s on offer
This is the ultimate destination for adventure. Whether it’s skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies or bear watching in the wilds of Ontario, Canada has everything to satisfy travelers who want to spend time in the great outdoors.
Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City are all perfect for city breaks, with first rate culture, food and entertainment on offer.

Who can go
Citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada, but they must quarantine for 14 days. Vaccinated citizens and permanent residents will no longer need to quarantine from July 5.

Immediate and extended family members, including those without Canadian citizenship, can enter for any reason as long as they are staying in the country for more than 15 days (the quarantine rule remains unchanged for now).
Those coming for fewer than 15 days can only enter for an essential purpose.

All extended family members (but not immediate family) must also have written permission from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). For more information, click here. Only essential travel and transiting passengers are otherwise allowed.
What are the restrictions?

Earlier this year, Canada implemented further testing and quarantine requirements for international travelers arriving in Canada by air and land. Only four major airports are accepting international flights: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
All permitted arrivals must use the ArriveCAN app or website to submit travel and contact information, a 14-day quarantine plan and a Covid-19 symptom self-assessment.

The quarantine plan must detail where you will stay, how you will get there and how you will arrange for delivery of essentials such as groceries and medicine. Failure to stick to the plan can lead to six months’ jail time and a CAD$750,000 (US$593,000) fine.
Additionally, all arrivals are given a health screening by a border officer to assess any symptoms.

Canada’s national public broadcaster, the CBC reports the government is looking at a multi-phase approach to reopening the border with the US that would begin with allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter starting this summer.
You can keep up with detailed travel rules among the provinces here.

What’s the Covid-19 situation?
Canada is now in the midst of a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine program. According to Canada’s official vaccine tracker, more than 67% of the population has received at least one vaccine dose and about 29% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Canada dealt with the initial wave of Covid-19 well. However, a deadly second wave in late 2020 led to new lockdowns.
Currently, the country is recovering from a third wave of the virus and multiple provinces are easing their restrictions in response.