Canada no longer advising against non-essential travel, first time since March 2020

The Canadian government has quietly lifted its advisory against non-essential international travel, marking the first time since March 2020 that the notice has been lifted.  

A travel notice on the Government of Canada website had been advising travellers against all non-essential international travel, but is now replaced with a notice urging all travellers to be fully vaccinated before a trip.

“Be aware that although you are better protected against serious illness if you are vaccinated, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19,” the updated advisory states.

“If you’re unvaccinated, you remain at increased risk of being infected with and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 when travelling internationally. You should continue avoiding non-essential travel to all destinations.”

The updated notice also urges travellers to keep up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation in their destination, to follow the local public health measures and follow the traditional measures, such as wearing a mask, hand washing and physical distancing.

"The Government of Canada will continue to assess available data and indicators—including the vaccination rate of Canadians, the border test positivity rate, and the epidemiological situation globally and in Canada―and adjust advice as needed," a spokesperson for Health Canada said in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca.

While the government is no longer advising against international travel, it is still urging against international cruises.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday that the updated advisory is reflective of the government’s change in approach to travel recommendations.

“We’re in right now a period of re-looking at a much more destination- or country-specific approach as opposed to the global, more blanket approach just to provide Canadians with more detailed information,” she said.

She noted the change doesn’t mean the pandemic is over, but is proof that vaccinations work.

“Now is not the time to just freely go wherever,” she said. “The beginnings of the transition away from the more blanket approach really recognizes that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe outcomes.”