The move to ease border restrictions comes after significant gains in the country’s vaccination rate and a steady drop in Covid-19 cases.
If the virus progress continues, Canada will welcome all fully vaccinated international travellers by 7 September. All travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test before entry. The changes for American travellers and US permanent residents will go into place on 9 August. The Canadian government first shut its borders in March 2020, barring entry to all non-essential foreign travellers with few exceptions.
Both the US and Canada also agreed to ban non-essential crossings along their 5,500-mile land border. The US has not yet said if it will allow Canadians to enter across the land border for non-essential travel.
Canadians and permanent residents were subject to mandatory testing and 14-day quarantine upon entry, including a three night stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel. Earlier this month, Ottawa lifted those restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians returning home.
Travellers who have not received a full course of one of the four Canadian-approved vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – are still required to quarantine upon arrival.
All those entering will have to upload proof they received a full course of a vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival to a Canadian government app. They must also provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of departure.
A blanket ban on all commercial and private passenger planes from India will remain in place until at least 31 August due to ongoing virus concerns.
After a slow start, in recent months Canada’s vaccine program has picked up speed.
Nearly half of all Canadians have been fully vaccinated, including 56% of those aged 12 and older. Almost 70% of Canadians have received at least one dose.
The progress in Canada has drawn contrasts with the US, where vaccine hesitancy has stalled total vaccinations at about 48%.