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Canada Loosening Travel Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Travellers


Beginning August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents who reside in the United States and enter Canada from the United States are permitted to travel to Canada for discretionary purposes, such as tourism, recreation, and non-essential work.

According to the Government of Canada’s website, a “fully vaccinated traveller” is an American citizen or permanent resident who meets the following criteria:

  • Resides in the United States and is entering Canada from the United States;
  • Has received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada, which are the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson);
  • Has received the last dose at least 14 days prior to entering Canada; and
  • Produces satisfactory proof of vaccination, which must be in English or French, or be a certified translation into English or French. If a traveller’s proof of vaccination does not meet all of the requirements, it will be considered invalid and the eased travel restrictions will not be applicable to the traveller.

Fully vaccinated travellers are also exempt from the requirement to quarantine for 14 days following their entry into Canada and to take a COVID-19 test on the 8th day following their entry into Canada (as of August 9, the prior 3-day government-authorized hotel stay requirement has been eliminated for all travellers).

Despite the eased restrictions, the Government of Canada is still enforcing strict requirements for fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents on an ongoing basis. A fully vaccinated American citizen or permanent resident must still meet the following requirements (in addition to demonstrating that they qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller):

  • Have a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of the traveller’s last direct flight to Canada (if travelling by air) or within 72 hours of the traveller’s planned entry into Canada (if travelling across a land border). Note that antigen tests are not acceptable;
  • Be asymptomatic (i.e., no signs or symptoms of COVID-19);
  • Submit the mandatory information via ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination and a 14-day quarantine plan if one is deemed necessary;
  • Be admissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and
  • Take a COVID-19 test on arrival, if required. Mandatory randomized testing for fully vaccinated travellers arriving at designated ports of entry has been implemented.

Once in Canada, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents are required to:

  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and undergo any COVID-19 test required by the Minister of Health during the 14-day period beginning on the day following their entry into Canada;
  • Report any signs and symptoms or a positive result for any type of COVID-19 test to the Minister of Health, screening officer, or quarantine officer, before the expiry of the 14-day period beginning on the day following their entry into Canada; and
  • Follow public health guidelines and local laws (e.g., wearing a mask, physical distancing, etc.).

These requirements apply to American citizens and permanent residents, whether they cross the border by air or land.

In addition, as of August 9, 2021, international arrivals will be expanded to the following airports: Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Ottawa MacDonald Cartier International Airport, Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, and Edmonton International Airport. Travellers may now fly into these airports as well as Vancouver International Airport, Calgary International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Montréal-Trudeau International Airport.

The Government of Canada has also announced that it plans to permit fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries to travel to Canada for discretionary purposes beginning September 7, 2021. These plans are tentative and subject to a number of considerations, including vaccination rates, transmission rates, and the prevalence of COVID-19 variants. Further announcements are expected in the weeks ahead.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It does not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

For more information, please contact the author of this article or any member of our Employment & Labour Group.