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Canada lifts non-essential travel introduced amid COVID-19

The federal government has quietly lifted its advisory against all non-essential travel abroad that was introduced in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — as long as those travellers are fully vaccinated.

The advisory was lifted on the same day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Canada’s international proof of vaccination system.

No announcement was made Thursday regarding the change to the travel advisory.

Instead, the government’s travel advice website was updated to say all international travellers should be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before travelling, and must follow local public health guidelines in the country they are travelling to.

Up until Thursday, the government had advised all travellers to avoid non-essential international travel regardless of their vaccination status.

Advisories for individual countries, which were also suspended during the blanket advisory, have now been restored. Those specific advisories often warn Canadians from travelling to unsafe countries due to local violence and unrest, among other reasons.

Starting Oct. 30, Canadians need to show a federal proof of vaccination certificate for international travel, along with their personal, government-issued ID.

The document will also be required when travelling by plane, train or cruise ship within Canada.

Canadians will have a grace period until Nov. 30 to get fully vaccinated and obtain the federal document. During that time, proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding a plane, train or ship will be accepted.

This document can also serve as your proof of vaccination when travelling internationally, the government says. However, having this document doesn’t guarantee that another country will let you in, they warn. You will have to check local travel guidelines before you arrive.

Provinces might also choose to use this proof of vaccination form to control access to non-essential services, the federal government says.

The government still recommends against non-essential international travel.

If you do travel, you’ll also need to show your proof of vaccination in order to get back into Canada. You can upload this document into the ArriveCan app up to 72 hours before your arrival, or before you board the plane.

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