Canada to welcome vaccinated U.S. travelers

As of 12:01 am Monday, American travelers who have received two doses of a vaccine approved by Health Canada will be allowed to set foot on Canadian soil.

But it is not reciprocated.

In order to enter the country, these travelers will need to live in the United States, have received their second dose of vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival, and show evidence of a negative test no older than 72 hours.

They can also use the ArriveCAN app or the internet portal to download their vaccination information.

Denis Vinette, Vice-President, Travel Directorate at the Canada Border Services Agency, says she learned a lot when properly vaccinated Canadian citizens were allowed to return to the country last month.

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Mr. Vinette says that 50% of them were refused during the first week because they had not received one of the four vaccines currently approved by Health Canada.

“We found that many travelers mistakenly believed that they had met all the vaccination requirements,” he explains. First, 14 days had not passed since they received their second dose. Second, many people having obtained a vaccine other than those from Health Canada believed to be exempt from quarantine requirements. ”

Health Canada has given the green light to four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson single dose.

“We had a lot of people who didn’t have a full understanding of what was allowed and what was not, says Vinette. United States are approved by Canadian authorities, I expect this to be a lesser problem. ”

Again, it is not reciprocated.

The United States is uncertain when it will begin to ease its own restrictions on non-essential Canadian travelers at border crossings. Travelers taking the plane and the boat are exempt.

The White House said last week it was exploring the possibility of requiring visitors to be fully vaccinated, although it is not yet clear whether that includes Canadians.

The United States has maintained strict restrictions on a number of foreign visitors from China, India, Ireland, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and all 26 European countries of the Schengen zone.

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Usually, Canada and Mexico are generally considered a separate category, especially because of the close trade ties between the three countries. Canadian and Mexican visitors do not need to go through a private company to enter the United States.

Observers perceive some unease within the Biden administration about allowing Canadian travelers to return to the United States without giving Mexicans the same opportunity. The situation of potential refugees remains a challenge in the White House.

Travelers entering Canada from the United States will need to be patient, given the possibility that many people will be turned away.

“[People] who do not have all of the required information will be refused entry into the country. They will simply be sent back to the United States, then they can comply with all the requirements and then attempt to re-enter.”

Travelers arriving by air can also expect delays.

At Toronto’s Peason International Airport, one of four in the country accepting incoming flights from abroad, travelers have already been warned that the wait could exceed three hours.

Canadians are increasingly comfortable traveling by air, which means more travelers at airports. These all face increased health and safety checks, spokeswoman Beverly MacDonald said.

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“There are a variety of factors that impact wait time on arrival, including additional medical examination due to government requirements, vaccination status, immigration processing, multiple flights may occur. at the same time … “, she enumerates.

Pearson saw almost double the number of passengers in the second quarter compared to the same months in 2020 – although its daily average of 11,500 was significantly lower than in 2019 of 140,000.

Montréal-Trudeau International Airport is seeing the number of arrivals increase from month to month. So its average in June was only 10% of that of 2019, but it climbed to 20% in July and expects another jump to 30% in August.

“Even if we are used to welcoming a much larger number of passengers in our facilities, there are longer waiting times to be expected, especially at international arrivals, depending on the time of day,” said a spokesperson. Anne-Sophie Hamel.

The federal government is currently planning to allow vaccinated visitors from countries other than the United States to come to Canada for non-essential reasons starting September 7.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Pressure mounts on both sides to reopen border and boost tourism'

COVID-19: Pressure mounts on both sides to reopen border and boost tourism

COVID-19: Pressure mounts on both sides to reopen border and boost tourism – Jun 11, 2021

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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