We Answered The Top 5 Travel Questions Canadians Are Asking Right Now

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We Answered The Top 5 Travel Questions Canadians Are Asking Right Now
Senior Editor

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada's travel restrictions have changed a lot.

Between mandatory hotel stopovers and quarantine periods, COVID-19 testing, the ArriveCAN app and providing proof of vaccination, things can get a little confusing.

To help, we've answered Canadians' most-Googled travel questions of the past month.

Who can travel to Canada?

In March 2020, the federal government placed restrictions on who can enter Canada for non-essential purposes.

However, there's actually a pretty long list of people who are permitted to come into the country right now, including Canadian citizens, dual Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Eligible travellers from overseas are also able to enter under certain conditions, like temporary foreign workers, international students, people travelling for compassionate reasons and more. Further details can be found on the government's website.

If you're still unsure about your eligibility to enter Canada, there's a Government of Canada questionnaire that might help.

The rules are set to change on August 9, when fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents living in the U.S. will be permitted to enter Canada for discretionary purposes.

From September 7, fully vaccinated international travellers will be able to enter Canada.

When can Canadians travel to the US?

Well, it's a little bit complicated.

Canadians have been able to visit the U.S. by air throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, although previously they would have faced a number of travel restrictions upon their return to Canada.

The country's land borders, however, remain firmly closed to all non-essential travel, which isn't expected to change any time soon.

While Canada has agreed to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Americans from August 9, this will not be reciprocated. Instead, the U.S. had made it clear that its land borders will remain closed until at least August 21, 2021.

It's also worth noting that the Government of Canada continues to advise against all non-essential travel abroad, regardless of vaccination status.

Where can Canadians travel?

Fully vaccinated Canadians can now travel to many destinations worldwide, provided they're willing to comply with all travel measures in that country and upon their return home.

Fully vaccinated Canucks who want to visit another country without quarantining must check that their vaccine course is accepted at their destination. Now, they can vacation without quarantine at places like Italy, Greece and the Bahamas.

Those who are yet to receive a full course of a vaccine will face additional restrictions in many countries.

Where to get a PCR test for travel?

There is not an official, government-approved place to get a PCR test for travel purposes.

Instead, there are multiple companies offering the service for those who need one. Participating Shoppers Drug Mart stores are offering tests in some provinces, for example.

Canadians should contact their doctor or local public health authority for more specific advice on where to get a PCR test ahead of taking a trip.

What is considered essential travel?

While the federal government continues to advise against all non-essential travel, the exact definition of what is "essential" isn't specific.

"It is up to you to decide what 'non-essential travel' means, based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with a country, territory or region, and other factors," reads a notice from the government.

However, the government previously told Americans and other tourists that things like tourism, hiking, visiting friends and family and visiting a second home or cottage do not count as essential, and thus are not good enough reasons to leave home.

Helena Hanson
Senior Editor
Helena Hanson is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Travel and Money teams. She previously lived in Ottawa, but is now based in the U.K.