Canada's airports could look pretty different by mid-August! The federal government has confirmed that its post-arrival testing strategy is changing for fully vaccinated travellers and a new "border testing surveillance program" is in the works.

In an announcement on July 19, federal officials confirmed that fully vaccinated travellers will not need to take a COVID-19 test when they arrive in Canada, starting August 9, 2021.

Instead, the Government of Canada will use a new "border surveillance program" at airports and land border crossings, which aims to "identify new variants of concern entering Canada and provide intelligence, including vaccine effectiveness."

Details about the program are yet to be revealed, but the process will enable fully vaccinated Canadians and tourists to skip the day-one COVID-19 test and the day-eight test unless they are "randomly selected" to take one.

What about unvaccinated & partially vaccinated travellers?

Everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, will still be required to take a pre-entry COVID-19 test before they arrive in Canada.

Those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated at their time of travel will not qualify to skip the on-arrival/day-one COVID-19 test as of August 9. They are not permitted to skip the day-eight COVID-19 test, either.

"This strategy allows the Government of Canada to continue monitoring variants of concern in Canada and vaccine effectiveness," a notice from the feds explains.

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, an individual must have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Government of Canada.

Hotel quarantine

The feds have also confirmed that the government-approved hotel stopover will be scrapped for all passengers arriving in Canada by air, effective as of 12:01 a.m. on August 9.

This applies to fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people will also be exempt from quarantine upon arrival in Canada, although they must continue to submit a backup quarantine plan via ArriveCAN.

Temperature checks

Thanks to this country's "improving epidemiological situation," Transport Canada is also scrapping pre-flight temperature checks, beginning August 9, 2021.

This will affect all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, on both domestic and international flights.

The Government of Canada says this will "make the travel process more streamlined, ensuring that passengers spend less time in airports, while still maintaining necessary public health measures."

It's worth noting that masks are still required in all airports and on all flights to, from and inside Canada.

Airports

Now that officials have outlined plans to welcome back fully vaccinated American tourists as of August 9 and fully vaccinated international visitors as of September 7, more Canadian airports will start accepting flights from overseas again.

From August 9, international flights will be permitted to land in five additional Canadian airports: Halifax Stanfield International Airport; Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport; Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport; Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and Edmonton International Airport.

This is in addition to the four Canadian airports that have continued to accept international flights throughout the pandemic: Toronto Pearson International Airport; Montréal—Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport; Calgary International Airport; and Vancouver International Airport.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.