US travelers who used to take quick jaunts abroad to their neighbor to the north have been facing severe difficulties for the past 19 months. Canada closed its borders to most people on March 18, 2020, and every month afterward, the closure was extended — until August 2021.
This summer, Canada eased its travel restrictions for US travelers, but it’s not without rules and requirements. Here’s the low-down for US travelers to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can US travelers come to Canada?
On July 19, 2021, the government of Canada announced the reopening of the country’s borders to American travelers starting August 9, 2021. However, certain conditions apply.
US travelers can enter Canada if:
- They have been fully vaccinated 14 days before entering Canada
- The vaccines they have received are approved by the government of Canada, i.e. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
- They are able to present proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days.
US travelers to Canada who fit all the criteria must also adhere to Canada’s entry requirements, including:
- Submitting their travel information on ArriveCAN (app or web portal) before traveling. The travel information is to include a detailed quarantine plan. Travelers’ quarantine plan must feature an address where they could isolate themselves for 14 days or longer
- Providing paper or digital proof of their vaccination status and their pre-arrival test
How can US travelers make their way to Canada?
US travelers who meet the criteria and fill in the requirements listed above will be able to enter Canada through land borders and at the following airports:
- Montréal-Trudeau International Airport
- Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Calgary International Airport
- Vancouver International Airport
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
- Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
- Edmonton International Airport
What are the COVID-19 restrictions in each Canadian province and territory?
Note that by then end of October 2021, anybody willing to travel on a plane or train within Canada will need to be fully vaccinated. According to Transport Canada, “Effective October 30, travellers departing from Canadian airports, and travellers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to travel.”
- Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+)
- The BC Vaccine Passport is required for anyone aged 12 or over to access certain venues, such as bars, restaurants, movie theatres, and more.
- Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces. Note that masks are not required while participating in a physical fitness activity, performance activity, or a worship service at a place of worship
- In bars, cafés, restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs, alcohol service must end at 10 PM in all licensed establishments
- Masking indoors is not compulsory, but patrons must adhere to individual business’s masking policy
- Mask use is required in indoor public places
- 14 days of self-isolation is required for people returning or coming to Manitoba from all jurisdictions if they have received one or no vaccine doses
- Face coverings in indoor public settings and physical distancing is required. Face coverings are also required in some outdoor public settings
- Wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory on public transit (buses, the subway, ferries, taxis, car services, etc.) and in enclosed or partially enclosed public places for people age 10 and over
- Since September 1, 2021, Quebec’s COVID-19 vaccine passport is required for those aged 13 or older to access certain venues like theme parks, cinemas, etc.
- New Brunswick lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on July 30, 2021, including the requirement to wear face masks in public; all provincial border restrictions; and limits on gatherings
- Wearing a non-medical mask is required in most indoor public places. Children under two are exempt
- Everyone who travels from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador (including if you’re travelling through Nova Scotia to another destination) needs to apply to travel to Nova Scotia by completing the Safe Check-in Form. Travelers to Nova Scotia may need to self-isolate upon arrival in the province
- It is no longer mandatory for non-medical masks to be worn in public, indoor spaces in PEI
- Those wanting to travel to PEI need to obtain a PEI Pass. The PEI Pass verifies travelers’ vaccination status. Vaccinated travelers from outside the Atlantic provinces to PEI will be tested for COVID-19 upon entry. Those who are unvaccinated/don’t have a PEI pass will need to fill in a declaration form, isolate, and be tested for COVID-19
- Wearing a non-medical face mask that covers the nose and mouth is recommended in public indoor settings for everyone ages five and over, but is not required
- All travelers to Newfoundland and Labrador must fill out a travel form within 30 days of traveling and show identification with proof of residence. Non-vaccinated travelers from outside the region need to self-isolate
- Travel to Nunavut requires authorization from Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer. Authorization to travel to Nunavut can be obtained by completing a 14-day isolation period at a Government of Nunavut Isolation site in either Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife. At the end of the 14 days, residents will be cleared and provided a letter signed by the Chief Public Health Officer. Travelers can apply for an isolation exemption by making a request and providing proof of vaccination at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Leisure travel is not allowed for non-resident at this time in the Northwest Territories, except for remote tourism purposes. In this case, visitors must have a trip booked with an approved Remote Tourism Operator
- Wearing a mask is not mandatory in indoor public spaces in the Yukon
- Travellers entering the Yukon are no longer required to stop at Yukon border stations or submit a declaration form upon entry to the territory
A version of this article was previously published on November 5, 2020, and was updated on October 7, 2021, with more information.
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