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Coronavirus Travel Advice and News for Canadians

COVID-19 travel news: Beginning July 6th, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents arriving to Canada will be able to bypass the mandatory hotel stopover and 14-day quarantine. Canada’s international travel restrictions, including travel to the U.S., have been extended until July 21, 2021. Air Transat will begin to gradually resume flight operations starting July 30, 2021. Air Canada’s direct flights to India are set to resume by July 29, 2021. We’ve got all the coronavirus travel advice and latest travel news for Canada below.

Coronavirus travel advice for Canadians

Information is changing around coronavirus travel advice and the new travel restrictions in Canada every day, which can make it hard to keep up with the facts that are most relevant to you.

We’re working daily to keep this coronavirus travel updates page current regarding all health, safety, and travel news surrounding COVID-19 in Canada and around the globe. Whether you need it now, or in the near future, it could be worth a bookmark. Please note that this page was last updated on June 21st, 2021. To our knowledge, the coronavirus travel advice and information on this page was correct at the time of publication. However, given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the information will vary by location and change at short notice and over time. We will do our best to keep this page up-to-date.

All coronavirus travel updates for Canadians noted here have been created for general guidance only. We strongly recommend reading the latest coronavirus travel advice from your local authorities and governments, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), a trusted source of global health news and information.

Want to know if there are any COVID-19 exposures near you? Find out the latest information on infections in your area in Canada by downloading the free COVID Alert App. Users can safely track and report coronavirus exposures via Bluetooth technology.

Canada’s coronavirus travel advisory

As of March 19, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) asks that residents avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada and continues to do so. Canada’s ban on cruise ships is set to expire in February of 2022. The latest travel restrictions and advice from the CDC include avoiding all non-essential international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

All non-essential travel between the Canada/U.S. land border was restricted as of March 21, 2020, and extensions have been made on a monthly basis ever since. It was announced last week that the border restrictions will be extended through July 21, 2021.

The PHAC released a statement to Canadians that travelling across the land border to the United States for a COVID vaccine will not be considered essential travel. There have been reports that U.S. border agents will deny entry to any Canadians attempting to travel across the border for the sole reason of getting a COVID vaccine.

As of January 7, 2021, passengers travelling to Canada (5 years and older) from an international destination must show proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test result taken a maximum of 72 hours before departure. Some exceptions apply. Note that at this time, proof of a COVID-19 vaccine does not replace a valid test result to enter Canada.

Wondering if you will need a vaccine certification for future international travel? Read more about vaccine certificates for travel for Canadians here.

Canada’s international travel restrictions: update

As of March 16, 2020, all non-residents are banned from entering Canada with limited exceptions. Some exceptions for entry have been made for extended family members, international students wishing to study in Canada, and some foreign nationals on compassionate grounds. For more information on non-residents who wish to travel to Canada, see the official government website for the latest coronavirus travel advice.

It was announced on Monday that effective 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers who are allowed to enter Canada under the current restrictions can skip the 3-day hotel quarantine stay as well as the required 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Those travellers will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 negative test result pre-departure and take a test upon arrival at the airport in Canada. Proof of vaccination (digital or paper form) will be required before departure to Canada. If you haven’t already, we recommend downloading the ArriveCAN app in order to submit the required travel documents. You can read the full official guidance here.

Please note that at this time, all other passengers travelling from international destinations to Canada via air must still submit their mandatory quarantine plan before boarding a flight to enter the country. The submission should be done through ArriveCAN via the app on your smartphone or through the official website.

Are you an essential worker who has to cross the border into Canada for work? You can apply for an industry workers exemption for the mandatory 14-day self-isolation here.

COVID-19 testing and travel to Canada by land

From February 15, 2021, all Canadians over the age of five who are returning from non-essential travel at one of the country’s land borders will be required to present a negative coronavirus test result upon arrival taken from the previous 72 hours. The COVID-19 test for travel to Canada must be an accepted molecular test taken in the U.S. To enter Canada, COVID-19 antigen tests are currently not accepted. And please note that at this time, there are no exceptions for fully vaccinated travellers.

If there is no recent coronavirus test result to provide at the border, then travellers must show proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test result between 14 and 90 days before arrival in Canada. This timeline means that the virus will have passed but the traveller will still have immunity, so as not to spread it to others when entering the country. You can read all the latest government guidance on COVID-19 testing requirements at the Canada/U.S. land border here.

All arrivals at the land border in Canada will now receive two COVID-19 At Home Specimen Collection Kits. The testing kits must be taken on the day of arrival to Canada, as well as on Day 8 of the required two-week quarantine. They are to be used with the guidance of a telehealth healthcare provider. Some border crossings have services on-site to help arrivals with their COVID test. These tests are managed by Switch Health, and you can create an account here in order to save time at the border.

Any Canadian travellers (2 years and older) who need to transit through the United States to get back to Canada must show a negative COVID test result from the previous 72 hours before boarding a flight to the U.S. (in this case, antigen tests are accepted).

Canada travel restrictions: hotel quarantine

Starting February 22, 2021, all international passengers returning to Canada via air are required to take a COVID-19 molecular test upon arrival at the airport. Travellers must then go directly from the airport to quarantine at a government-approved hotel at the arrival city (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver). Passengers will also receive an at-home testing kit upon arrival in order to take a second COVID test on Day 8 of their quarantine. Beginning June 4th, those who refuse the hotel quarantine could be subject to a $5,000 fine. You can read more about the official quarantine requirements here.

Effective 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated travellers who are allowed to enter Canada under the current restrictions will be allowed to skip the hotel quarantine stay. Proof of vaccination will be required, either in digital or paper form.

Note that the hotel quarantine stay must be booked before boarding a flight to enter Canada at the traveller’s own expense, and the booking must be made for three nights while they await the results of their COVID-19 molecular test.

Those who receive news of a negative COVID test result during their hotel quarantine will be allowed to head to their home or planned quarantine accommodation to continue their two-week quarantine requirement. Travellers with positive test results will be required to quarantine in designated government facilities.

The second COVID test must be taken on Day 8 of the quarantine. Travellers’ coronavirus tests can be taken using the testing kit given to passengers at the airport upon arrival. Read more about the latest travel rules for flying into Canada here.

Looking to book your hotel quarantine stay? While some of the quarantine hotels offer direct booking online, travellers can also call to book their three-night hotel stay via GB Travel Canada Inc. The numbers to call are: 1-800-294-8253 (within North America) and 1-613-830-2992 (outside of North America). It’s recommended to call between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET during the regular hours of operation. Please note that the hotel booking is non-refundable. You can read the full details about the hotel cost, booking info, and more here.

Latest public health updates

Health Canada has officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford, and the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine for COVID-19. You can read more about the vaccines and the NACI’s (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) recommendations, as well as research on the vaccines here.

The U.S. government unveiled its COVID-19 vaccine sharing plan earlier this month, and Canada is one of the nation’s set to receive more shipments of vaccine doses by the end of June.

Transport Canada requires all persons over the age of two years to wear a face mask before boarding a plane and other forms of public transit throughout Canada. Temperature checks (contact-free) are also mandatory before boarding a plane on an international flight to Canada, and temperature screening stations have been set up in the departure terminals of Canada’s busiest airports.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine free in Canada?

The Government of Canada website states that vaccines will be available free of charge to “everyone in Canada over the course of 2021.” Wondering where the vaccine doses are going? Each province has recognized their individual priority groups for the vaccine distribution, and you can read the latest reporting here on the COVID-19 vaccine tracker website.

Travel restrictions within Canada

In recent weeks, a number of provinces have announced their reopening plans for the summer and provincial travel restrictions are beginning to ease in parts of Canada.

The Ontario government released it’s detailed reopening plan, and some public health restrictions are being lifted throughout the province. Last week, the Ontario-Quebec border opened to non-essential travel. You can see the graphic of the province’s plan here.

As the province of B.C. begins Step 2 of its reopening plan, recreational travel and large outdoor gatherings (up to 50 people maximum) is allowed within the province.

We encourage all Canadians to check with local authorities for the latest updates in their region. See this coronavirus tracker map for the latest reporting on COVID-19 cases in Canada by province and territory.

For the latest information on your local travel restrictions, the Globe and Mail has an extensive list of all coronavirus travel restrictions and health advice across Canada—for more information on health guidance, travel alerts, border restrictions, and lockdown information for each province and territory, please click here.

What are the international travel restrictions for Canadians?

For other coronavirus travel advice and updates, including the latest information on countries currently open to Canadians, click on the link below for the full country list of the latest travel restrictions for Canadian passport holders.

Coronavirus travel advice and the latest restrictions for Canadian travellers: map
Coronavirus travel news and updates for Canadians

And for any additional information on coronavirus travel advisories and restrictions, please visit the Government of Canada’s travel advisory page.  

Airlines and flexible travel policies for COVID-19

Air Canada

Updated flight schedules

  • Air Canada has begun lifting some of its previously suspended flight routes to the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Asia beginning this month. Direct flights to India are now available from July 29, 2021.
  • For Air Canada’s most updated flight schedule, click here

Change and cancellation policy

  • Travellers can make a (one-time) change to their flight booking without a fee for all new or existing flight bookings made through June 30, 2021, for travel between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022. If you need to cancel your ticket, you can change the flight ticket for an Air Canada Travel Voucher to be used for a later date or for Aeroplan Rewards Miles, where you’ll get 65% bonus miles if you’re an Aeroplan member.
  • The airline has collaborated with insurance provider Manulife, where Canadian travellers can receive complimentary travel insurance included with eligible round-trip flights on new bookings with Air Canada from February 1, 2021. Travel must be completed by October 31, 2021. Find out all the details here.
  • For more information on Air Canada’s latest flight policies, travel insurance updates, or to cancel or change a flight, please visit the airline’s COVID-19 travel updates page.   

Air Transat

Updated flight schedules

  • Air Transat has temporarily suspended its flight services from February 14, 2021. It was announced this week that the airline will gradually resume flight operations beginning July 30, 2021.
  • Travel credits will be given to Air Transat passengers for any cancelled flights due to COVID-19. If you’re wondering whether or not you are eligible for a full refund rather than a travel credit, you can fill out an eligibility form on Transat’s dedicated page here. For flights purchased through Transat’s Travel Credit program, a credit will be recognized for future travel.

Change and cancellation policy

  • It is still possible to book flights for travel on Air Transat. With Air Transat’s ‘Book with peace of mind’ flight booking policy, all (one-time) change fees will be waived for any new flights booked by June 30, 2021, if the change or flight cancellation is made up to 24 hours before departure.
  • For more information or to cancel or change a flight, please visit Air Transat’s coronavirus travel updates page.   

Other airline updates: Vacation airline Sunwing has temporarily suspended all flights to sun destinations until July 29, 2021. Porter Airlines is set to resume flight services by August 3, 2021.

Turkish Airlines

Updated flight schedules

  • Turkish Airlines is currently serving passengers to over 200 destinations around the world. Flexible booking policies are also in place for travellers who want to purchase flights with the airline.
  • For more information on Turkish Airlines’ flight schedule, click here.

Change and cancellation policy

  • With Turkish Airlines’ flexible change policies, customers are currently offered unlimited changes to their tickets until March 31, 2022 (inclusive) for flight tickets purchased by December 31, 2021 (inclusive).
  • For more information on Turkish Airlines’ flights and flexible travel policies, please click here.

WestJet

Updated flight schedules

  • WestJet is resuming some domestic and international flight routes starting this month. Services to Atlantic Canada and parts of Western Canada will be available, including international flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and the UK.
  • For the latest WestJet flight route information, visit their flight schedule page.

Change and cancellation policy

  • Individuals who book a flight before June 30, 2021, will be able to change or cancel their flight without a fee (one-time policy) as long as the change or cancellation is made more than 24 hours before departure. Passengers are also eligible for no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance on certain qualifying flights. Read more about WestJet’s COVID-19 insurance policy here.
  • To check the latest status of your WestJet flight, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Have you been impacted by flight cancellations and other changes to your travel itinerary due to coronavirus? Get more useful advice with these posts on what to do if your flight is cancelled and what to do if your hotel booking is cancelled during coronavirus.

It’s again important to note that face masks are required for all air travellers. Be aware that airlines such as WestJet have also implemented a Zero Tolerance policy for refusal to wear a protective face mask will on board. Travellers might also be subject to a health check prior to boarding.

Are you a Canadian who is currently travelling or living abroad? All Canadians needing assistance while outside of Canada can contact Global Affairs Canada by phone through one of their 50 toll-free numbers, or you can email them at sos@international.gc.ca. And wherever your destination, make sure you get in contact with the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate nearest you. Click here for the full list of Canadian embassies/consulates abroad.

Coronavirus travel advice: FAQs

While the news is constantly evolving when it comes to coronavirus travel advice in Canada and around the world, here are some answers to your most frequently asked questions:

How can I stay safe when travelling?

Take the normal health and safety precautions when you’re travelling as you would at home during this time. Routinely wash your hands (for at least 20 seconds) or use an alcohol-based gel to thoroughly clean your hands. Make sure to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as the virus can likely enter your system through those areas of your body.
Remember to wear a face mask in public indoor and outdoor spaces. If someone appears to be ill around you, make sure to keep a safe distance of 2-3 metres or more. You can read more about the WHO’s coronavirus public health advice here.

I want to cancel my travel plans due to COVID-19. How do I do this, and can I get a refund?

It’s best to call your airline, your hotel, or your travel agent that you booked the trip with if you want to cancel or postpone any travel because of COVID-19. You can find more details, including contact information, on our coronavirus and travel help page.

My flight has been cancelled due to coronavirus. How do I get a refund?

Call the airline or online travel agent you booked with if your flight gets cancelled. With so many travel plans changed recently, it may take longer than usual to speak to someone who can help, but keep trying. If you have travel insurance, get in touch with your insurance provider as well.

Will my travel insurance cover coronavirus flight cancellations?

The refunds provided by your travel insurance company for trip cancellations always depends on the type of coverage you purchased. Check your travel insurance provider’s website for their latest coronavirus travel restrictions and flight cancellation policies, and give them a call to find out more about your travel and medical insurance coverage during these times.
On that note, we also recommend booking flights on airlines with flexible cancellation and change policies. Numerous airlines have recently added flexible policies as well as travel insurance with some qualifying flights, so check for the policy that works for you.

For more answers to frequently asked questions about coronavirus, click here. We have also responded to your top COVID-related questions from our traveller community, so check it out!

And wherever you are in the world, you can contact the Government of Canada coronavirus information line at 1-833-784-4397.

Do you feel as if your mental health is struggling, especially during this global pandemic? Bounce Back is a free program for Canadians by the Canadian Mental Health Association that offers a number of resources to help you with your mental health and wellness. Check their website for more information.

This page has been created for general guidance on coronavirus travel advice only and has not been designed for you or any specific circumstances relevant to you. It is highly recommended that you check your government’s latest travel advice before travelling or making any decisions to travel.