Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government presented a road map to reopening Canada’s borders to nonessential international travel beginning next month.
Fully vaccinated U.S. residents will be allowed into Canada as of Aug. 9, according to a plan unveiled Monday in Ottawa. Tourists will need to provide border officials with proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test completed before arrival. They will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine and two post-arrival coronavirus tests.
Those rules will apply to travelers from other countries as of Sept. 7. Canada’s borders have been closed to leisure travel for noncitizens and residents since the pandemic began in March 2020.
“The earlier start date of Aug. 9 for fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents is in acknowledgment and recognition of our shared border and our close relationship with the United States,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said at a press conference. “It will give us the opportunity to test our processes and to ensure they’re effective.”
Monday’s announcement, made by a half dozen ministers, comes as vaccination rates climb on the eve of an expected election campaign. Canada surpassed its largest trading partner on fully inoculated residents over the weekend, with 49.6% of the total population vaccinated compared to 48.6% in the U.S.
“Canadians have worked hard and sacrificed for each other, and because of that work, we can take these next steps safely,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a news release.
The U.S. isn’t expected to reciprocate the looser rules for land travel at this point, Blair said, meaning fully vaccinated Canadians won’t yet be able to drive across the border.
Some travelers entering Canada will be selected at random for mandatory on-arrival testing, but it won’t be systematic, the ministers said.
Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 will no longer be obliged to quarantine. However, they will need to follow enhanced social distancing rules, which will permit them to move around with their parents but avoid group settings like overnight and day camps.