When will Canada open its borders?
The honest answer: we don’t know. There are many factors influencing the Canadian government’s decision to keep border restrictions in place and while we don’t know exactly when those restrictions will lift, there are more and more reasons to be optimistic. As vaccines roll out across Canada and around the world, it’s possible that Canadian borders could begin to look “normal” in the months to come.
In this guide, we bring you all the latest information influencing Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, as well as signs that may influence when the borders may reopen.
- What do we mean by “open borders”?
- Will getting vaccinated allow a person to travel?
- Is Canada going to create a COVID-19 vaccine passport?
- Canada’s vaccine rollout so far: Impacts on the border
- Could the COVID-19 variants derail Canada’s re-opening?
What do we mean by “open borders”?
Before we get into the question of when Canada’s borders will open, it’s important to define what we mean by Canada’s borders being “open.” Canada’s borders are never fully “open” or fully “closed” — the purpose of a border is to regulate who can and cannot enter a country. Before COVID-19, more people met the requirements to cross into Canada, but the borders still restricted some people from entering the country.
Instead of thinking of Canada’s borders in a binary fashion — either being “open” or “closed” — it’s more useful to think of Canada’s borders like a water tap or faucet — the flow of water will increase or decrease depending on how much you turn the handle. Throughout the pandemic, Canada’s borders have never been truly “closed,” but the flow has been decreased — the tap is just barely dripping.
As the pandemic begins to resolve, we can expect the flow to increase, but it might not all happen at one moment. Canada’s borders might not go from “closed” to “open” in one single day. Instead, Canada may slowly increase the number of permissible reasons for crossing the border — perhaps for approved permanent residence applicants (thousands of whom have been waiting for the green light to move to Canada since March 2020), or for individuals who have proof of full vaccination (more on that later).
Plus, when the pandemic is over, Canada’s borders might look different than they did before COVID-19. We might never return to the pre-COVID “normal,” instead Canada might create a new normal based on lessons learned during the pandemic.