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July 19, 2021 – Federal government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relaxation of border measures

The Government of Canada announced the easing of current border restrictions.

Starting August 9, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel. Fully vaccinated residents of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon will also be able to enter Canada without quarantine.

Effective September 7, Canada’s borders will be open to any foreign visitors who has been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada.

Travellers must be symptom-free for COVID-19 and have received a Government of Canada-approved vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen from Johnson & Johnson). Proof must be provided on the ArriveCAN app or Web portal in English or French.

“The Government of Canada recognizes that people have been anxiously awaiting a reopening of the border to the world,” said Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “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.”

Border-easing measures remain subject to change as the epidemiological situation evolves.

The United States administration has not announced a lifting of restrictions for Canadians wishing to travel to the U.S. for non-essential reasons.

Screening measures

As of August 9, visitors will be required to be tested before arriving in Canada, but there will no longer be routine post-arrival testing for fully vaccinated individuals. Some travellers will be  randomly selected to complete a COVID-19 molecular test on day one.

Temperature-taking for passengers on domestic and international flights departing from Canada and for airport staff will be abolished as of August 9.

Quarantine measures

The requirement to spend three nights in a Government of Canada-approved hotel will be waived for all passengers arriving by air as of midnight on August 9, but travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to be tested on day one and day eight and undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from quarantine; however, they must still provide a quarantine plan if border services officers decide they do not meet the necessary requirements.

Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 will no longer have to undergo a 14-day quarantine, but they will have to comply with additional health measures. For the first 14 days after their arrival, they will have to avoid public places such as summer camps, day-care centres or schools and be tested on the first and eighth days. Details on the list of places to be avoided will be provided by August 9.

Five more Canadian airports allow international flights

As of August 9, international flights will be able to land at five 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.

Montréal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver airports already accept arriving international flights.

All direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India are restricted for an additional 30 days, i.e., until August 21 at 11:59 p.m.