On July 20, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents (U.S. Green Card holders) will be allowed to enter Canada as of August 9, 2021 for discretionary travel. As of September 7, 2021, assuming Canada's epidemiology remains favourable, the federal government will also open the Canadian borders to fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries for discretionary travel.

Discretionary travel for U.S. citizens and Green Card holders

Effective August 9, 2021, discretionary travel will be permitted for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and green card holders currently residing in the U.S. Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, or dependent children who are unvaccinated due to a mental or physical condition, who are U.S. citizens or green card holders currently residing in the U.S. and who are accompanying a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent guardian or tutor are also allowed to enter Canada for discretionary purposes.

Travellers must upload their proof of vaccination records of authorized vaccines to the ArriveCAN app prior to travel. Authorized vaccines include the full series of a vaccine, or combination of vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada received at least 14 days prior to arriving in Canada, which currently includes two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Air carriers will verify the ArriveCAN details before travellers board their flight to Canada.

Travellers must also meet pre-entry testing requirements, be asymptomatic upon arrival and have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French. Anyone entering Canada must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine if they do not meet the requirements.

Those exempt from the quarantine will need to adhere to the following public health measures for 14 days after entry to Canada:

  • Monitor for COVID-19;
  • Wear a mask when in public;
  • Keep a copy of their vaccination documents and test results; and
  • Maintain a list of close contacts and locations visited.

Quarantine requirements

The three-night government-authorized hotel stay will be lifted for all travellers as of August 9, 2021.

Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, or dependent children who are unvaccinated due to a mental or physical condition, of fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be subject to the 14 day quarantine. However, children need to avoid group settings such as camps or daycares for the first 14 days after their entry to Canada. Unvaccinated children will also be subject to the Day 1 and Day 8 testing requirements.

COVID tests

All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours of travel.

Adjustments are being made to the post-arrival testing requirements. A new border testing surveillance program at the airports and land border crossings will be implemented. The post-arrival test will not be mandatory for fully vaccinated travellers unless randomly chosen to complete a Day 1 COVID-19 molecular test as part of the new surveillance program.

There are no changes to the mandatory testing requirements for unvaccinated travellers. Unvaccinated travellers will continue to be required to undergo Day 1 and Day 8 COVID-19 molecular tests and complete the 14 day quarantine, subject to limited exceptions.

Temperature screening

Effective August 9, 2021, Transport Canada is lifting the pre-board temperature screening of passengers on all domestic flights and international departments.

Expansion of Canadian airports

Currently, international commercial passenger flights are only permitted at the four Canadian Airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Effective August 9, 2021, international flights will be permitted to land at the following additional 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.

Gowling WLG focus

The federal travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in Canada are evolving with many changes coming into effect in August and September. As some provinces or territories in Canada may have their own entry requirements, and/or there may be additional considerations for foreign nationals entering Canada, we recommend that you reach out to a member of the Gowling WLG Immigration Group to discuss prior to travel.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Gowling WLG professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.