Amid mounting pressure on the Canadian government to address long delays and wait times at airports, federal ministers have announced further easing of some COVID-19 travel restrictions.
But while the feds are lifting vaccine requirements for some travellers, other health measures at the border remain in place. Here’s a guide to the current COVID-19 rules around travel as well as what’s changing.
Currently, all travellers are required to show proof of being fully vaccinated before entering Canada by air, land or water.
But starting on June 20, the government will drop the requirement that domestic and outbound international travellers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Foreign nationals coming to Canada will still be required to be vaccinated under the new rules, unless they meet one of the criteria for exemption.
If you’re travelling internationally, be sure to check the COVID-19 travel rules for your destination. While the Transport Canada rules on vaccine mandates are expected to be lifted, some countries, such as the United States and Australia, still require foreign tourists to present proof of vaccination.
Vaccine mandates also remain in place for passengers and crew travelling on cruise ships that dock in Canada.
TESTING, QUARANTINING FOR UNVACCINATED TRAVELLERS
Unvaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to Canada are still subject to quarantine and testing requirements.
If you’re an unvaccinated traveller returning to Canada, you’re required to provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test taken within 72 hours of your scheduled flight or land entry into Canada. Unvaccinated travellers can also show proof of a negative antigen test taken the previous day, but the test has to be either administered or observed by a pharmacy, lab, health-care entity or telehealth service.
Unvaccinated travellers will also be subject to a COVID-19 test on arrival. The test may be done on-site at an airport or travellers may be given a test kit to complete at home.
Upon arrival, unvaccinated travellers must also quarantine for 14 days and take another COVID-19 test on day 8 of quarantine.
RANDOM COVID-19 TESTING
Last Friday, Transport Canada announced that mandatory random COVID-19 testing for incoming international travellers at airports would be temporarily suspended for all vaccinated travellers until June 30.
Unvaccinated travellers are still subject to on-site arrival testing. But starting July 1, all testing, including for unvaccinated travellers, will be performed off-site.
While the U.S. dropped the in-flight mask mandate in April, face masks are still mandatory aboard all flights and interprovincial trains in Canada.
The Canadian government will continue to require inbound travellers to enter their health information, quarantine plan and proof of vaccination through the ArriveCAN app. Using the app is mandatory, regardless of citizenship, and it must be completed within 72 hours of your scheduled flight or arrival at a land border.
If you don’t have a smartphone, you can use the web browser version of ArriveCAN to enter your location.