| Photo by Nathaniel Bowman on Unsplash
NEW YORK – With Canada’s rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has announced plans to fully reopen its borders to international travelers by September 7, 2021. The gradual reopening of its borders begun in June 2021 after new quarantining exemptions for fully vaccinated travelers were set.
According to the PHAC July 19 announcement, Canada plans to re-open its borders in two phases.
Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents currently residing in the US and fully vaccinated 14 days before entering Canada for non-essential travel. The first phase is in effect on August 9, 2021. The PHAC said this initial “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.”
Canada will eliminate mandatory post-arrival COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated travelers. All inbound travelers, fully vaccinated or not, are still required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before arrival, and they may be selected for random COVID-19 testing post-arrival. In addition, travelers are still expected to have a quarantine plan if they are found to have not met the requirements of a quarantine exemption. Also, mandatory stays at government-approved hotels are being eliminated for fully vaccinated air travelers.
In addition to these new border measures, starting August 9, 2021, international travelers will fly to five additional airports in Canada in Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton. Previously, most commercial passengers arriving by air to Canada had to land in one of the four approved international airports in Calgary, Montréal, Vancouver, and Toronto, which allowed Canadian border officials to effectively implement and monitor the efficacy of COVID-19 testing and quarantining measures to safeguard Canadians from the spread of the disease.
In phase two on September 7, 2021, Canada plans to reopen its borders completely, provided that the “domestic epidemiologic situation remains favorable, to fully vaccinated international travelers who have completed the full course of vaccination with a Government of Canada-accepted vaccine at least 14 days before entering Canada and who meet specific entry requirements.
The PHAC announcement is seen as Canada’s path to returning to pre-pandemic life. However, at this early stage, Canada’s plans to reopen its borders are still conditional based on in-Canada and worldwide COVID-19 vaccination trends, particularly concerning the impact of COVID-19 variants. Travelers should stay current on the latest border measures before making plans for non-essential travel to Canada.