Canadian Immigration News

How Long Will the Canadian Border Restrictions Last and What Can Happen Next?

5.25 minute read
"It is unclear when Canada will open its border completely to foreign nationals. There have been several travel restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Canada. However, as the vaccination drive began, many expected Canadian immigration to go back to normal in a few months. The decision of opening borders depends on various factors. Therefore, it is important to understand them all before we can make an educated guess on when the travel restrictions could be lifted."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 8, 2021
canada with a 3d stop sign and barrier my visa source
Begin your immigration journey now
Click and fill out a free online assessment to see how we can help you. It takes less than 1 minute to fill out.
Free Assessment
Call and speak to our team, so that they can book a time with a licensed immigration professional who will answer all your questions.
Call Us Now
Recommended For You
Author info:

It is unclear when Canada will open its border completely to foreign nationals. There have been several travel restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Canada. However, as the vaccination drive began, many expected Canadian immigration to go back to normal in a few months. The decision of opening borders depends on various factors. Therefore, it is important to understand them all before we can make an educated guess on when the travel restrictions could be lifted. 

What Does Open Borders Mean?

Border restrictions aren’t in place to completely stop the flow of people. They only control the level of people allowed to enter or leave the country. It is important to understand that Canada never completely closed off its borders even during the pandemic. Only the level of travelers was decreased. As the Covid-19 infection rate decreases, it is only natural to expect the flow of immigration to increase. However, it is not that simple, immigration levels will recover slowly as travel restrictions are lifted by the government based on the pandemic situation all around the world.

It is expected that approved permanent residents will be first allowed to enter and fully vaccinated immigrants will be allowed as vaccination drives catch up in other countries. Until then, the border situation is expected to function differently compared to before the pandemic. 

How Does the Vaccination Drive Affect Border Restrictions?

Vaccines are the only effective way to deal with this pandemic. Although criticized for its slow pace in the beginning, the Canadian vaccination drive crossed 300,000 daily vaccinations multiple times throughout April. 

Gradually, Canada will have all willing adults vaccinated. The Canadian government has approved the administration of 4 different vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Since there are no domestic vaccination production facilities, Canada has to rely on internationally sourced vaccines. The delivery of vaccines from abroad has caused the initial slowdown in the rollout of vaccines. But it has since accelerated after mid-February. 

Even if the Canadian population is vaccinated and the risk of Covid-19 is reduced, travel restrictions will remain in question based on the situation of the pandemic in the rest of the world. At least 30% of the Canadian population has been vaccinated as of April 28, however, the risk of a third wave is still very possible. Covid-19 infections have been rising in many provinces forcing them to reimpose certain restrictions and lockdowns. For example, Quebec has announced a lockdown in several regions with high rates of infections while British Columbia has implemented a new “circuit-breaker” restriction. 

Another possibility is that these travel restrictions are lifted based on proof of vaccination. As vaccination is rolled out in other countries, Canada may ask for proof of Covid-19 vaccination for entry into the country. 

Will Canada Use Proof of Vaccination to Open Borders?

Many countries around the world are debating whether to use ‘Vaccine Passports’ to facilitate international travel. Vaccine passports will require the holder to have proof of vaccination if they wish to travel to another country. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly advised against the use of such passports since vaccination does not reduce the risk of transmission. However, many domestic politicians are in favor of such a requirement. Speaking to the press on April 27, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also suggested that his government is expecting to require proof of vaccination as it is only natural during a pandemic to expect vaccination. However, the way this policy will be rolled out and implemented is still in consideration. How vaccinations affect the risk of transmission is still being monitored, therefore, this decision will be based on the data collected in the coming months. 

The requirement for a negative Covid-19 test to travel to Canada is still in effect. People traveling by air will be required to undergo three separate Covid-19 screening tests. One before boarding, one after departure and one after the 10th day of their mandatory 14-day quarantine period. 

How is the Vaccination Rollout Progressing in Canada?

As the vaccination rollout is still in progress, these are the most recent figures. As of April 28, 2021, there are a few key targets of the Canadian government that one should know:

The Canadian government originally vowed to procure around 6 million vaccine doses to ensure that the population of 3 million people could be fully vaccinated by March 31. Initially, Canada was able to exceed this target by securing more than 10 million doses by the first week of April. The government projects to administer at least 14.5 million doses by the end of June. However, many provinces have predicted that only one dose of the vaccine will have been given to willing adults. 

These projections were moved further after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) concluded that the second and last dose of the vaccine would be administered after 4 months of the first dose. Prime Minister Trudeau has promised that all willing Canadian adults will be able to get a vaccine dose by the end of September. 

How Does the New Emerging Covid-19 Variants Affect Border Restrictions?

The new emerging Covid-19 variants in countries like Britain and India is a pressing concern for the reopening of Canadian borders. Currently, there are 3 recognized Covid-19 variants but more could emerge as the third wave hits different countries around the world. 

The first variant was recognized in the United Kingdom known as B.1.1.7 which proved to be more transmissible and lethal than the initial virus. In response to that, Canada halted all flights from the UK in February. However, the vaccines are equally effective against this virus. 

The major concern is the other 2 variants, B.1.351 and P.1 found in South Africa and Brazil as vaccines are proving to be less effective against these variants. However, vaccine producers are testing new immunity shots against these variants. 

In regards to their effect on border restrictions, Canada is already taking restrictive measures against these variants by halting direct flights from high infection countries like India and Pakistan. However, if existing vaccines prove to be effective against these variants, these restrictions are expected to not last very long.

Questions About Immigration? My Visa Source Has Answers.
My Visa Source stays updated on all immigration news and announcements across Canada and the United States, including sudden changes in government law. Our legal solutions help individuals, families, businesses and investors from North America and around the globe.
Get The Personalized Help That You Need and Deserve!
Securing personalized legal help is quick and simple. Begin with our one-minute online immigration assessment form or call us toll-free at 1-888-509-1987. Book a personal consultation to speak with an award-winning immigration lawyer either in person, over the telephone, or through a video conference. We're open 6am-9pm PST & EST, 7 days a week and are ready for in person, phone, and video consultations.
Canadian Flag
Latest Articles from Immigration Magazine