canada border opening

Here's when Canada is reopening the border to fully-vaccinated travellers

Tourists who've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will soon be welcomed into Canada again, the federal government just confirmed, starting with U.S. residents, who (if they meet all requirements) can begin crossing the border in less than a month.

"With rising vaccination rates and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to safely ease border measures," said Minister of Health Patty Hajdu when announcing the news Monday afternoon.

"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."

That gradual approach will begin on Aug. 9, when Canada plans to start allowing vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents into our home and native land for non-essential travel. The border is expected to reopen to all fully-vaxxed visitors on Sept. 7.

Travellers eligible to enter Canada in August must currently reside in the United States and will have to have been fully immunized with a Health Canada-recognized vaccine for at least two weeks before entering the country.

"This preliminary step allows for the Government of Canada to fully operationalize the adjusted border measures ahead of September 7, 2021, and recognizes the many close ties between Canadians and Americans," reads a Health Canada release explaining the forthcoming measures.

If all goes well with the Americans, and "provided that the domestic epidemiologic situation remains favourable," the Canadian border will reopen to all guests who meet all specific entry requirements, just in time for TIFF.

By that point, our border will have been closed to non-essential international travellers for 18 months (a year-and-a-half).

The tourism industry will likely welcome the arrival of visitors after a long and painful pandemic, and Canadians with families abroad will finally get to reunite with their loved ones (and not have to worry about paying for a government-issued quarantine hotel, the mandatory use of which we've just learned will be eliminated for visitors as of Aug. 9).

Non-vaccinated people will remain barred from non-essential travel to Canada, and those who travel here for essential reasons must still quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

"Fully vaccinated travellers who meet the requirements will be exempt from quarantine; however, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements," writes Public Health Canada.

All travellers must also have the results of a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test with them to enter Canada, regardless of vaccination status.

That said, those who are fully vaccinated will no longer need a post-arrival test "unless they have been randomly selected to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test."

Today's announcement furthermore included details about five more Canadan airports opening up to international travellers. Airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton will join our current roster of four (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) on Aug. 9.

"The Government of Canada recognizes that people have been anxiously awaiting a re-opening of the border to the world," said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair on Monday.

"We have been fully engaged with our American counterparts given the deep economic and family ties between our two countries. Today's announcement is another big step in our approach to easing border measures which is guided by facts, scientific evidence and the advice of our public health experts."

Lead photo by

Val K

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