Canada opens to vaccinated tourists

Canada has officially opened its land borders to fully vaccinated US citizens and US permanent residents for non-essential purposes such as tourism and medical tourism. The country is also set to launch digital vaccine passports for outbound international travel.

For more than 16 months, the U.S. and Canada closed entry points across the 5,500-mile land border in an effort to contain further spread of Covid-19.

While Canada has begun allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter the country again, the USA did not reciprocate.  The USA is, for now, not changing its own policy, instead taking a hard line on many foreign countries.

Travellers need to wait at least two weeks after their last vaccine dose before crossing the border, and they must present proof of an approved, negative Covid-19 test taken during the 72 hours before their arrival in Canada. They also must not have any symptoms of the disease when they arrive at the border.

The opening of Canada’s borders to Americans will again allow some cross-border medical tourism, but most traffic is from Canada to the USA.

Canada plans to allow fully vaccinated tourists from other countries to visit beginning September 7.

The Federal government is also set to launch digital vaccine passports for outbound international travel in the next few months.

The vaccine certificate will be common across all provinces, and will include the holder’s COVID-19 vaccination history, the date they got their shot, the type of jab they received and where it was administered.

The document will be digital, with an option for those who cannot use or do not want a digital certificate, and will be available to all citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents living in Canada who are fully vaccinated.

One potential problem however is that it mixes vaccines given to people and such mixed vaccines are not acceptable in many countries.

Some provinces have tightened rules on what unvaccinated people can or cannot do. British Colombia suggests that it will not allow unvaccinated travellers for several years.

The vaccine passport is being developed with international travel in mind, but the federal government is happy to work with the provinces to use it as a domestic proof-of-vaccination tool.

Before that, the Federal government has ruled that for all domestic air and train travel, proof of vaccination will be required to board by October.