From next month, fully vaccinated incoming citizens or permanent residents will no longer need to quarantine when returning to Canada, officials said. It marks the first phase in Canada’s border reopening.
The new system will come into effect on July 5, though no timeline has been set for when Canada will open its borders to non-essential foreign travelers.
Fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents entering Canada for non-essential purposes, as well as foreign nationals traveling to Canada for approved or essential purposes, can skip hotel quarantine as officials enter the first phase in relaxing border restrictions. These arrivals are still required to meet some public health measures, including presenting proof of full vaccination (digital or paper copy) and proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before travel, in addition to taking a second test upon arrival.
They must also “present a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine.”
Under the new system, there are no changes to border restrictions for unvaccinated travelers, who are required to book a three-night stay at a government-approved hotel at their own expense before flying to Canada.
“This is the first phase of our precautionary approach to easing Canada’s border measures. At this time we are not opening up our borders any further,” Dominic Le Blanc, minister of intergovernmental affairs, said in a statement.
There were some suggestions earlier this month that Canada would loosen travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers along the Canada – US border in the coming weeks, but on Sunday land borders between the two countries were extended for another 30 days through July 21.
“At this time, the government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel. Although the future is looking brighter than it has for a long time, with COVID-19 cases on a downward trend and vaccination efforts going well across the country, we can’t let our guard down,” added Bill Blair, the minister of public safety.
Currently, about 66% of Canada’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Canada’s official vaccine tracker. Almost 19% of the population is fully vaccinated.
As the country emerges from a third wave of the pandemic, multiple provinces are relaxing pandemic rules. Indoor dining has returned to British Columbia, Québec permitted outdoor dining from May 28 and dropped curfew, while Ontario and Alberta are working through a three-stage reopening plan for summer. Major attractions have opened up across the country, including Niagara Falls, which is open for viewing in Queen Victoria Park.
At this time, inter-provincial travel is discouraged. And while international travel is off the cards, from July 2, 2021, Air Canada will begin operating government-approved COVID-tested flights to Italy from Toronto and Montréal, similar to a quarantine-free scheme that that Delta and American Airlines are offering US travelers.