Since Canada simplified entry rules for tourists as of April 1st, the nation looks to recover over two years of lost tourism, finally welcoming back visitors with fewer restrictions. As both the rules at the border and local mandates, such as mask-wearing, have been loosening – Canada expects to welcome more foreign arrivals this spring – especially American neighbors from the south.
This article will take a look at Canada’s most recent entry rules, what local restrictions are like in some of the most visited areas, and what foreign tourists can expect this spring.
Canada’s Updated (and easier!) Entry Requirements
Yes, foreign international tourists are welcome to enter Canada, but with a few rules in place.
As of April 1, 2022, the government of Canada removed the requirement for fully vaccinated arrivals to show proof of a negative pre-flight test, either a 1-day antigen or a 72-hour PCR test. Yes, all foreign arrivals will have to be vaccinated in order to enter Canada, only Canadian citizens or residents are permitted to return home unvaccinated.
Here is what tourists can expect when entering Canada this spring
- Download and fill out the ArriveCan app within 72 hours of arrival in Canada
- Upload proof of being fully vaccinated to the app
- Know there is a possibility of being randomly selected for a PCR test on arrival
Tourists should be aware of two things from the above list
- if they are randomly selected for testing at land border crossings or in airports, they do not have to quarantine while waiting for results of their test.
- The ArriveCan app will ask if the traveler has a 14-day quarantine plan, should their arrival test be positive.
What’s considered fully vaccinated? The definition of fully vaccinated in Canada means you’ve received the full course of your dose (2 for Pfizer, Moderna, etc, and 1 for J&J) at least 14 days before entering. At this time, Canada does not require a booster and does not have an expiry timeline on the first full course.
Canada’s Inter-Provincial Travel Rules
While there are no current restrictions on traveling from one province to another, foreign visitors might be surprised to learn that all passengers must show proof of vaccination to get on a plane, train, bus, or ferry, even domestically. Canada is one of the only countries in the world with such a mandate, and it’s been in place since October 2021 with no news of being removed.
Since all tourists must be fully vaccinated to enter Canada anyway, this rule won’t really hinder any domestic travel plans, but it’s good for visitors to be aware of the rule so they can show up prepared. Bring your proof of vaccination with you, and be ready to show it, in almost every situation of transportation.
Mask Rules Across Canada
Most provinces and municipalities have removed indoor mask mandates throughout the entire country.
Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Manitoba have all removed their indoor mask mandates. However, a rule to wear a mask on public transit, or in high-risk health care settings (like a retirement home for example) may still be in place.
Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut still have some sort of indoor mask mandate in place.
Foreign tourists should be aware that the official government site states all international tourists should wear a mask indoors, regardless of local mandate removals, for their first 14-days inside the country.
Vaccine Passports inside Canada
Throughout the second half of 2021 and into the start of 2022, many provinces within Canada were requiring patrons of cinemas, restaurants, shopping centers, and many other indoor spaces to show proof of vaccination to enter.
As of April 2022, almost all internal vaccine passport programs have been scrapped. Again, foreign tourists still have to be fully vaccinated to enter the country, but the removal of the checkpoints to enter stores and eateries makes for a much easier vacation.
Traveling to and from Canada
As of April 2022, there are now more flight routes in operation to and from Canada than the country has seen since 2019. Major Canadian airlines WestJet and Air Canada have very successfully reinstated popular international routes, and have even added new ones due to higher than expected demand. Other international airlines have also started increasing the number of flights to Canada, especially since the easier test-free entry rules recently came into place.
International tourists will not have an issue finding many flight paths to and from Canada.
Cruise ship travel just returned to Canada in April 2022, with the first ship docking in Victoria, BC on April 9th.
Hotels in Canada, while just starting to recover, still have much lower occupancy rates than in 2019. Many cities are still ranging in a 20% to 45% lower occupancy rate in 2022 than in the same month period in 2019.
This is good news for tourists who want to see top tourist cities in Canada without the record number of crowds in pre-pandemic years.
Is Canada welcoming to foreign tourists right now?
Yes, international tourists are now being encouraged to visit Canada.
However, throughout 2020 and 2021, the majority of Canadians were very pro border rules, pro-vaccine passports, pro masks, and at times, quite anti-travel. Early on in the pandemic, travelers were widely perceived as being irresponsible and were not welcomed by many outside the tourism industry. Now with the government having officially removed most border and internal rules, the majority of Canadians are once again ready to accept foreign visitors and travel abroad themselves.
Tourism providers and tourism-based industries have been vocal with a pre-travel message over the past few years and have been advocating on the safe return of tourism to Canada is possible and very greatly needed. Not only those in the tourism industry, but also small business owners and entrepreneurs, are very keen to see a rebound in tourism from coast to coast.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories