On June 21, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada announced the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada under the current travel restrictions. These changes come into effect July 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST
Who is Eligible?
Eligible travellers will include fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and persons registered under the Indian Act. Un-vaccinated travellers from these groups will not gain the benefit of the reduced measures. Eligible travellers may also include certain fully vaccinated foreign nationals who hold valid work permits for Canada and are travelling for a work purpose that is not optional or discretionary. Americans and foreign nationals travelling to Canada for optional reasons like tourism, entertainment or recreation must comply with full post-arrival quarantine and testing rules, regardless of vaccination status.
What do the Reduced Measures Entail?
Under the reduced measures, eligible travellers arriving to Canada by air do not have to book pre-paid accommodations for a three-night stay at government approved hotels. Eligible travellers arriving by air or land also do not have to quarantine for 14 days or complete eighth day post arrival testing.
Eligible travellers must obtain an acceptable COVID-19 test and negative results within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Canada or appearing at a land port of entry. All travellers must take a post-arrival test on the day they enter Canada. Travellers who test positive for COVID-19 post-arrival must quarantine for 14 days.
Final determination of reduced quarantine measures are at the discretion of the Canada Border Services Agency. Travellers who are not found eligible for these reduced post-arrival quarantine and testing measures on arrival to Canada will be subject to the same rules as existed prior to July 5, 2021. Travellers must have a suitable quarantine plan in place for this reason.
What Documentation do Travellers Need to Provide?
To prove eligibility, travellers will need to provide proof of vaccination to verify that they are fully vaccinated, meaning they received the appropriate number of doses of Canada-approved vaccines (AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
Travellers must submit the proof of vaccination electronically to the Government’s ArriveCAN app prior to arriving to the border. The vaccination record must also be in English or French (or a certified translation). Entering fraudulent information into ArriveCAN will result in fines up to $750,000, six months in prison, or both under the Quarantine Act, or prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery.
International commercial flights will continue to be funneled to four Canadian airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, or Toronto. However, the Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel.
We will continue to monitor the restrictions and the exemptions as they are provided by the Federal Government.
The immigration group at MLT Aikins can provide guidance and assistance in ensuring that all prospective travellers are fully aware of their ability to travel and whether any exemptions apply.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.