Unlocking the World

Traveling to Canada during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 26th November 2021
If you're into winter sports, Canada has plenty of options.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on November 26.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Canada, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Canada's Covid-19 situation improved dramatically in mid-2021, however the country entered a fourth wave at the end of the summer. Canada is currently recording an average of 2,500 cases per day, with officials cautioning the country could see some "bumps" over the next few months.
On July 5, the Canadian government eased its mandatory two-week quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated nationals and residents arriving in the country after traveling abroad.
From August 9, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States currently residing in the US are permitted to enter Canada. As of September 7, vaccinated international travelers are allowed to visit as well.

What's on offer

This is the ultimate destination for adventure. Whether it's skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies or bear watching in the wilds of Ontario, Canada has everything to satisfy travelers who want to spend time in the great outdoors.
Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City are all perfect for city breaks, with first rate culture, food and entertainment on offer.

Who can go

Citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada, but if unvaccinated they must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Vaccinated international travelers are allowed to enter as of September 7. Accepted Covid-19 vaccines in Canada are: Pfizer-BioNTech; Moderna; AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD; and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson.
However, from November 30, the Government of Canada will expand its list of accepted vaccines to include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
"Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated will continue to be required to meet an exemption or be traveling for a non-discretionary purpose," says the Government of Canada website.
A few conditions still apply for all travelers. People older than five flying into Canada are required to provide written or electronic documentation showing they received a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR or RT-LAMP test conducted within 72 hours before their scheduled boarding.
As for travelers arriving by land, all visitors -- with some exceptions -- are also required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days before arrival.
From November 30, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals permitted to enter Canada, who depart and re-enter the country within 72 hours of leaving the country are exempt from providing a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result.

What are the restrictions?

At the moment, international flights are permitted to land at the international airports in these Canadian cities: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Halifax, Québec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
According to a Transport Canada news release, that list will expand on November 30, 2021. International flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at the following additional Canadian airports: St. John's International, John C. Munro Hamilton International, Region of Waterloo International, Regina International, Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International, Kelowna International, Abbotsford International and Victoria International.
All permitted arrivals must use the ArriveCAN app or website to submit travel and contact information, a 14-day quarantine plan (if unvaccinated) and a Covid-19 symptom self-assessment.
The quarantine plan must detail where you will stay, how you will get there and how you will arrange for delivery of essentials such as groceries and medicine. Failure to stick to the plan can lead to six months' jail time and a CAD$750,000 (US$593,000) fine.
Additionally, all arrivals are given a health screening by a border officer to assess any symptoms.
In early October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine mandate for rail and air travelers as well as staff. "By the end of November, if you're 12 or older and want to fly or take the train, you'll have to be fully vaccinated," said Trudeau, noting that "testing will no longer be an option before boarding a train or a flight" in Canada.
You can keep up with detailed travel rules among the provinces here.

What's the Covid-19 situation?

Canada is now in the midst of a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine program.
According to Canada's official vaccine tracker, nearly 80% of the population is fully vaccinated as of November 26.
Canada dealt with the initial wave of Covid-19 well. However, a deadly second wave in late 2020 led to new lockdowns.
Multiple provinces eased their restrictions as case numbers dropped in recent months, but a fourth wave emerged in late summer.
Following a decline in October cases are currently stable, with the country reporting an average of 2,400 cases per day.
Health Canada officials say children under 12 now account for the largest percentage of new Covid-19 infections.

What can visitors expect?

Mask mandates vary between provinces.
Provinces have been relaxing the rules on social gatherings, indoor dining and travel in recent months in response to rising vaccination rates.
But some, including Alberta and Ontario, now require proof of vaccinations for entry into many non-essential venues.
Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province, has adopted some of the country's strictest Covid-19 prevention measures, with nonresidents needing to apply for a pass to visit in advance.
Most Canadian provinces continue to advise people to keep a distance of two meters (6.5 feet) to cut the spread of the virus.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

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Canada has reopened to US travelers. Find out more in our guide to crossing the border.

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