Vancouver, British Columbia – Canadian officials announced that fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents can enter Canada for “discretionary travel” beginning Aug. 9.
Those wishing to cross the 8,891 kilometer border by land or air into Canada must arrive asymptomatic and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, along with full vaccination, within 72 hours of arrival.
Required documents must be uploaded to the ArriveCAN app prior to travel, and the paper version must be physically available with passengers.
The easing of Canada’s entry restrictions will extend from September 7 to all other countries with similar requirements for travelers.
The US-Canada border has been closed to non-essential travel since March last year. However, Canadians have only been able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.
Laurie Troutman, director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University in Bellingham, is not surprised by Ottawa’s decision.
“I think it’s a natural next step to allow Americans to be fully vaccinated for any travel purpose to be exempt from coming to Canada from the United States,” Trautman said.
“So I’m glad to see there’s a date. I’m glad to see there’s a plan.”
For Goldie Haider, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, the announcement bodes well for commerce – and for the outlook of people on both sides of the border.
Haider said, “When you think about it, everything we’ve been through as humans in the last 16-17 months isn’t natural, and it’s natural for people to interact with each other.” “
“To celebrate events, to mourn events, you know, to visit our clients, to take vacations – all these things are part of being a human being. And those are the things that we’ve done for the past 16- Abandoned in 17 months.”
Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the reopening, especially for the tourism sector and other businesses that rely on cross-border travel with the United States.
One concern they have raised is the potential delay at the border to check health documents.
“And the government needs to look for ways to accelerate this,” BT said. “Otherwise, we will have massive traffic jams with people trying to cross the border at peak times. And that’s why it’s very important for us to have digital safe vaccination certification.”
BT also said that the Canadian government should eliminate the need for negative COVID-19 tests.
Making the announcements at a virtual press conference, Canada’s Minister of Public Security Bill Blair said he spoke with US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyerkas about the changes.
Blair said the current restrictions, which expire on July 21, are expected to continue for travelers traveling by land into the United States.
“They are obviously looking at additional measures and data. But at the present time, they have not indicated plans to make any changes to their existing border restrictions,” Blair said.
Residents of the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon will also be allowed into Canada for non-essential travel on 9 August.
Earlier, the Canadian government shortened the ban on cruise ships docking in the country until November 1, four months earlier than originally planned.
Canada Border Services Agency staffs 117 legal crossing points along the Canada–US border and 13 international airports.