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Canada U.S. Border Opening FAQs

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Canada U.S. Border Opening FAQs

• Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Have questions about the border opening? We've got answers.

Here are the top frequently asked questions about the Canadian border opening to U.S. travellers on August 9th.



After nearly 16 months the Canadian border is finally opening to fully vaccinated U.S. visitors on August 9th. That's great news for us here in Northern Ontario—from our lodges to our motels, our restaurants to our boutiques, our campgrounds to our outfitters—we're all excited to be welcoming our U.S. friends back to our amazing province.

“Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.” —President JFK in his address to Canadian parliament, 1961,

This is part of a phased reopening of Canada's borders and could change at any time if deemed necessary for public health. Consult the Government of Canada travel site for the most recent updates and requirements. 

Learn about the 8 steps you need to take before visiting Canada.

When can Americans travel to Ontario, Canada?

As of August 9th, fully vaccinated Americans with proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test can enter Canada without quarantining. Children that are currently not eligible to be vaccinated (under 12 years old) are exempt from these requirements and can travel freely with their parents or guardians upon entry.

When can other international visitors enter Ontario, Canada?

International travellers are allowed to enter Canada as of September 7. 

What do Americans need to cross the border into Ontario after the reopening?

Americans and permanent residents need 3 things to enter:

1. A record of full immunization (both original and a digital copy to upload to the ArriveCAN app or website (see more about that below). 

2. Evidence of a negative PCR/molecular COVID test (i.e. not a rapid test) completed within 72 hours of crossing. Bring a printout of the test results and upload a digital copy to the ArriveCAN app or web portal.

3. They will also need to register their travel information on ArriveCAN within 72 hours of travel. This will ask for your basic details plus vaccine info, test info, as well as a quarantine plan (i.e. where you will safely quarantine if someone becomes ill or tests positive.)

Don't forget the passports of course! 

If you do not have the required documents you will be denied entry to Canada. 

What is the ArriveCAN app?

ArriveCAN is a free Government of Canada app (and website) where travellers must log in and submit their travel info. Download it, fill out your info, upload your documents, and have it ready to show at customs. It should take a few minutes to fill out. This is mandatory for each person in your group entering Canada.

This is a free service from the Government of Canada so be wary of third-party sites that ask for payment. 

Will I need a Covid test at the border?

It's not required but it's possible a select few travellers may be picked for a random test: Canadian officials have noted they'll be performing random COVID tests at all border crossings.

If travelling with children under 12 who are ineligible for the vaccine, they may be given a test upon entry or provided with take-home tests. 

Uh, one of our group tested positive after a random test at the border? What now?

You have two options.

1. Return to the U.S.

2. Proceed to your quarantine destination and isolate for 14 days or until the case is resolved. The border officer will explain what's required if you choose the quarantine option. This quarantine is enforceable by law and will be monitored and subject to checks either in person or over the phone. 

What vaccines are recognized by the Canadian government?

Vaccines that are currently recognized by the Canadian government include  Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson. Other vaccines are under review. 

But I had COVID already! Can I bring a doctor's note?

At this time, only fully vaccinated travellers will be granted entry into Canada. 

My family was vaccinated yesterday. Can we visit ontario, Canada today?

Nope. Visitors must have been fully immunized for 14 days or more before travel into Canada.

What about travelling with my kids? They're under 12 and not eligible to be vaccinated! 

Right now the government direction is that children who are currently ineligible to be vaccinated (i.e. under 12) may enter Canada with their parent or guardian and are exempt from quarantine. They will also be required to take a COVID test upon entry (day 1) and on day 8. They must also avoid group activities like day camps, group sports, etc. for 14 days after entry. 

I read Ontario is currently in Stage 3 of its reopening. What's Stage 3?

Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening means much of the province is business as usual: indoor dining, museums, movie theatres, attractions, and gyms are open with some capacity limits. It's a good idea to call ahead to double-check opening hours before planning a visit to a business, though, as there are some exceptions. Be kind and understanding if the place you want to visit is keeping limited hours or has capacity limits. Everyone is doing their best. 

Stage 3 was initiated by the Ontario government once 70%-80% of Ontarians had received at least one dose of the vaccine. A pretty neat milestone if you ask us! 

Do I need to wear a mask when I'm visiting Ontario?

Yep—indoors in public places and wherever physical distancing is a challenge. The mask mandate for Ontario remains in place, largely due to the threat of the Delta variant. Wearing a mask indoors is a great way to be respectful and your thoughtfulness will be much appreciated by the business you're visiting and by the Canadians around you. Northern Ontario is pretty massive though, and not very densely populated—so if you're backpacking in the bush or on a fishing trip, you can safely enjoy that fresh Ontario air. 

Can I fly into Ontario?

Yes. Toronto's Pearson Airport and now the Ottawa Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport are both open to international visitors. Remember to wear a face covering on the plane and in the airport. 

Is everything in Northern Ontario booked though? is it too late to plan a visit?

Luckily, our region is vast and full of opportunities for any kind of visit you want to experience this summer—fishing, camping, boating, golf, and hiking as well as urban adventures in our major hubs of Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and North Bay. There are lots of lodges, outfitters, campgrounds, and motels/hotels that have availability in August, September, and beyond. Don't miss out on everything on offer in our historic small towns, too. 

Due to its location alongside the Northern Minnesota border, Northwestern Ontario's Sunset Country is especially dependant on its American visitors and has lots of availability.

Superior Country, Algoma Country, and Northeastern Ontario also have lots of places to stay and things to see. 

Please note it is forest fire season in Northern Ontario and there are fires active in some remote areas. Visit here for a list of affected areas of view this interactive map to ensure you plan accordingly. 

Did northern ontario, Canada miss me?

Yes. We did. We really did. 

Welcome back, old friends. We're happy you're here.

Discover Your True North
Northern Ontario Welcomes You .... We're Closer Than You Think

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