Border rules loosened some for fully-vaccinated Canadians

Pearson International Airport, Toronto. © Can Stock Photo / woodygraphs

The federal government is lifting border restrictions for some travellers while maintaining them for others.

Health Minister Patti Hajdu announced the first moves to reopen the border with the U.S. in over 15 months.

She was joined by the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Transport, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for Monday morning’s announcement.

Starting July 5, all Canadians returning from abroad who have been fully vaccinated will no longer have to quarantine for two weeks or stay at a government hotel until they test negative for COVID-19.

They will still need to provide proof of a negative test from 72 hours before their arrival, take a second test upon arrival, and have a plan to quarantine should that test come back positive.

“We are continuing these testing requirements to allow public health experts to continue to monitor positivity rates at the border and monitor for variants of concern,” said Hajdu. “Whether you’re fully vaccinated or not, if you’re coming into Canada, it is crucial to plan in advance to ensure you’re meeting all travel requirements. Your planning should also consider the specific requirements of the province or territory that is your destination.”

If you have not yet, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair recommended downloading the ArriveCAN App. He warned travellers they will need to present either a paper copy or digital copy of their vaccination documents, along with their COVID-19 related information on the App upon arrival.

“The application itself can verify the validity of the documentation that’s been submitted,” he said. “But we’re also requiring travellers to retain a copy of their vaccination documents, originals or a certified translation, for verification by the border service officers.”

Blair said more than 2-million Canadians have used the App so far.

Canada is also ending its flight ban from Pakistan. Transport Minister Omer Alghabra said the flight ban from India would remain in effect until at least July 21.

More airports may soon accept international flights. Only airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal allow incoming flights from outside Canada now, but Alghabra said that could be expanded soon.

Marco Mendicino had good news for those accepted as immigrants to Canada but had to wait because of the pandemic. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said those with valid confirmation after March 18, 2020, can now come.

Monday’s announcement did not offer any new assurances for families waiting to reunite with loved ones on the other side of the U.S. border. Blair repeated land border crossings would remain closed to all but essential travellers until July 21 at least.

Blair also repeated his government’s message that it would adjust restrictions based on pandemic modelling and other metrics like daily case counts and hospitalizations.