Unlocking the World

Traveling to Canada during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 11th January 2022
If you're into winter sports, Canada has plenty of options.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on January 11, 2022.
(CNN) — If you're planning to travel to Canada, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Canada is currently battling a dramatic surge in cases led by the Omicron variant, forcing many provinces to reintroduce restrictions.
The country was moved to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's highest-risk category for travel on January 10.
Canada recorded 294,437 new cases for the week ending January 8, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, its highest weekly total of the pandemic.
In the summer of 2021, the Canadian government eased its mandatory two-week quarantine requirement for all fully vaccinated travelers entering the country.
On December 15, Canadian government officials indicated that fresh restrictions may be announced in the coming days, but for now the country still allowing foreigners to enter for business and leisure, provided they are vaccinated and provide a negative Covid-19 test upon entry.
Officials are now asking citizens to avoid all nonessential international travel as the Omicron variant spreads throughout the world.

What's on offer

This is the ultimate destination for adventure. Whether it's skiing and snowboarding in the Rockies or bear watching in the wilds of Ontario, Canada has everything to satisfy travelers who want to spend time in the great outdoors.
Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City are all perfect for city breaks, with first rate culture, food and entertainment on offer.

Who can go

Citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter Canada, but if unvaccinated they must self-quarantine for 14 days.
Vaccinated international travelers are allowed to enter as of September 7. Accepted Covid-19 vaccines in Canada are: Pfizer-BioNTech; Moderna; AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD; Janssen/Johnson & Johnson; Sinopharm; Sinovac; and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
"Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated will continue to be required to meet an exemption or be traveling for a non-discretionary purpose," says the Government of Canada website.
A few conditions still apply for all travelers. People older than five flying into Canada are required to provide written or electronic documentation showing they received a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR or RT-LAMP test conducted within 72 hours before their scheduled boarding.
As for travelers arriving by land, all visitors -- with some exceptions -- are also required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days before arrival.

What are the restrictions?

All permitted arrivals must use the ArriveCAN app or website to submit travel and contact information, a 14-day quarantine plan (if unvaccinated) and a Covid-19 symptom self-assessment.
The quarantine plan must detail where you will stay, how you will get there and how you will arrange for delivery of essentials such as groceries and medicine. Failure to stick to the plan can lead to six months' jail time and a CAD$750,000 (US$593,000) fine.
Additionally, all arrivals are given a health screening by a border officer to assess any symptoms.
In early October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine mandate for rail and air travelers as well as staff. "By the end of November, if you're 12 or older and want to fly or take the train, you'll have to be fully vaccinated," said Trudeau, noting that "testing will no longer be an option before boarding a train or a flight" in Canada.
You can keep up with detailed travel rules among the provinces here.

What's the Covid-19 situation?

Canada is currently battling a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases led by the Omicron variant.
The country is reporting an average of 37,000 new cases per day -- a sharp rise from the 3,000 per day average recorded in early December.
Canada is now in the midst of a nationwide Covid-19 vaccine program. About 80% of the population is fully vaccinated as of January 3, 2022.

What can visitors expect?

Mask mandates vary between provinces.
Provinces have been relaxing the rules on social gatherings, indoor dining and travel in recent months in response to rising vaccination rates. However, many governments have been reintroducing restrictions due to the rise in cases as Omicron sweeps through the country.
Some provinces, including Alberta and Ontario, now require proof of vaccinations for entry into many non-essential venues.
Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province, has adopted some of the country's strictest Covid-19 prevention measures, with nonresidents needing to apply for a pass to visit in advance.
Most Canadian provinces continue to advise people to keep a distance of two meters (6.5 feet) to cut the spread of the virus.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

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Canada has reopened to US travelers. Find out more in our guide to crossing the border.

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