Canada or Can’t-ada? The Lowdown on Canada’s Covid Entry Restrictions

By Chris Shieff

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Canada reopened its borders to all vaccinated foreigners on 7 Sep 2021. This essentially means if travellers have had an approved jab, they can enter from anywhere and for any reason. Here’s a quick rundown of how the new rules work.

What does ‘fully vaccinated’ actually mean?

For Canada, this will mean that at least 14 days have passed since a passenger has received a full course of one of the four Canadian-approved vaccines. This currently includes:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • AstraZeneca
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson

Any other vaccines will not be accepted in the first instance but there are plans in place for this to change.

There are still some things pax will need to do before they travel.

  • Despite being vaccinated, they will still need either a Covid test result taken less than 72 hours before before their flight, or a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days before departure to Canada (i.e. proof of recovery).
  • They’ll also need to submit all their information via the ArriveCAN system which will give them the nod that they’re good to go. There’s an app version for that too.
  • Pax will only be re-tested on arrival by random selection.
  • There will also be a requirement that they have a plan in place in case for some reason they are asked by authorities to isolate. You can read more about that here.

There are now more airports to choose from.

As of 17 Sep 2021, there are ten airports allowed to receive international private and bizav passenger flights:

  • CYUL/Montreal
  • CYYZ/Toronto International
  • CYTZ/Toronto Billy Bishop
  • CYYC/Calgary
  • CYVR/Vancouver
  • CYHZ/Halifax
  • CYQB/Quebec
  • CYOW/Ottawa
  • CYWG/Winnipeg
  • CYEG/Edmonton

There are some exceptions to this rule, outlined in the latest Notam:

H3067/21 (Issued for CZQX CZQM CZUL) - COVID-19: FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, WITH THE INTENT TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF
COVID-19 THROUGHOUT CANADA, ALL COMMERCIAL AIR SVC, PRIVATE OPR
(CAR SUBPART 604) AND FOREIGN BUSINESS AVIATION, THAT ARE
TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS TO CANADA MUST COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS
OF THE INTERIM ORDER RESPECTING CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR CIVIL
AVIATION DUE TO COVID-19, ISSUED BY THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
CURRENTLY IN FORCE. THIS INCLUDES A REQUIREMENT PASSENGERS TO
WEAR FACE MASKS AND PROVIDE EVIDENCE OF A NEGATIVE RESULT FOR A
COVID-19 MOLECULAR TEST PRIOR TO BOARDING.
IN ADDITION TO ABV, AND PURSUANT TO SECTION 5.1 OF THE
AERONAUTICS ACT, ALL COMMERCIAL AIR SVC, PRIVATE OPR
(CAR SUBPART 604) AND FOREIGN BUSINESS AVIATION, THAT ARE
TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS TO CANADA MUST, FOR THE PURPOSE OF
DISEMBARKING PASSENGERS, LAND AT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING AP:
- AEROPORT INTL DE MONTREAL-TRUDEAU (CYUL)
- AEROPORT DE QUEBEC-JEAN LESAGE (CYQB)
- CALGARY INTL AIRPORT (CYYC)
- EDMONTON INTL AIRPORT (CYEG)
- WINNIPEG INTL AIRPORT- JAMES ARMSTRONG (CYWG)
- TORONTO-PEARSON INTL AIRPORT (CYYZ)
- TORONTO-BILLY BISHOP TORONTO CITY (CYTZ)
- OTTAWA INTL AIRPORT (CYOW)
- VANCOUVER INTL AIRPORT (CYVR)
- HALIFAX INTL AIRPORT-STANDFIELD (CYHZ)
THIS RESTRICTION DOES NOT APPLY TO ACFT OPERATED IN THE FLW CIRCUMSTANCES:
- DIRECT FLT FM SAINT-PIERRE-ET-MIQUELON
- MEDEVAC FLT
- FERRY AND CREW REPATRIATION FLT
- CARGO FLIGHTS CARRYING ONLY AIRCREW OR AIRLINE EMPLOYEES
- TECHNICAL STOPS WHERE PASSENGERS DO NOT DISEMBARK
- AT ALTERNATE AP IDENTIFIED IN A FLT PLAN TO ADDRESS WX
- ACFT SAFETY )SITUATIONS, OR
- IN THE CASE WHERE SPECIAL AUTH HAS BEEN GRANTED BY TRANSPORT
CANADA: 1-888-857-4003. SFC - UNL
17 SEP 04:01 2021 UNTIL 16 DEC 04:00 2021. CREATED: 16 SEP 18:24 2021

For more info, check out Canada AIC 27-21.

What about unvaccinated passengers?

They’ll continue to be subject to Canada’s current entry rules, which means they will only be allowed in for essential travel (tourism will still be a no-no). Up to 10 days of self-quarantine will still be required. There’s no word yet it on if and when this might change.

Any changes for crew?

No – crew are already exempt from testing and quarantine rules when entering Canada, as long as they are on duty.

Is the US open to arrivals from Canada?

Yes. The rules in the US are (comparably) fairly straight-forward.

The main one is this – with specific exemptions, foreign nationals are not allowed to enter the US if they have been in any of the following countries within the past 14 days: the European Schengen area, the UK and Ireland, mainland China, Iran, and Brazil. The ‘specific exemptions’ part basically means this: US residents and family members, and flight crew traveling to the US on C, D or C1/D visas. For more details, check the US CDC webpage here.

So for pax arriving from Canada, as long as they haven’t been any of these places within the past 14 days, they just need a Covid test or certificate of recovery to enter the US, regardless of vaccination status. More info here.

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More on the topic:

More reading:

Chris Shieff

Chris Shieff

OPSGROUP team member and A320 pilot. Based in sunny Auckland, New Zealand. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

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