The long wait to welcome tourists back into Canada will be over in a matter of weeks, but not everyone will be allowed in right away. The federal government is taking a phased approach to reopening our borders for discretionary travel. It’s next major milestone is August 9th, when it will begin to allow fully vaccinated American citizens and Permanent Residents.

To qualify, travellers must meet a number of pre-entry requirements, that include arriving from a U.S. destination and showing that they have received a Health Canada-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival. These travellers must provide proof of immunization for their second dose of Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca, or a single dose of Johnson and Johnson  by uploading their digital certificate or an image of their paper certificate through the ArriveCAN app or ArriveCAN web portal prior to their trip.

If they are flying into Canada, their airline will be verifying that they have uploaded the necessary proof of vaccination, as well as a negative PCR test result, taken no more than 72 hours before departure. For people arriving by land, the onus is on them to ensure they have all the same vaccination and testing documentation in order on the app before they attempt to cross the border.

No matter how travellers enter the country, they must submit a full quarantine plan through ArriveCAN in the event they are denied the exemption. Their vaccination status doesn’t matter – they must still make a suitable 14-day isolation plan and enter it into the app. Vaccinated travellers will NOT, however, be required to spend any time in a government-designated hotel. The hotel quarantine measure is being dropped for all travellers – regardless of vaccination status – as of August 9th.

And for anyone travelling with children under 12, who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, the kids will be allowed to travel and go out with their parent or guardian and avoid quarantine, provided they are not exposed to large group settings like daycares, camps or schools where they are congregating with other children.

As for testing, Americans who are fully vaccinated, asymptomatic and present a negative PCR result upon entry into Canada will not be required to do another test when they arrive.

In August, the federal government is shifting to a surveillance-based approach at airports and land crossings, and will be randomly testing fully vaccinated Canadian and American travellers.

If all continues to go well, fully vaccinated travellers from other nations will be allowed to visit Canada for business and leisure travel September 7th.

As for people who for medical reasons cannot receive a vaccine for covid-19, the government will provide guidance very soon.

The bottom line is travellers must be prepared and plan ahead.

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