Authors: Katie Newman, Scott Bell
Effective 12:01 a.m. EDT on September 7, 2021, fully vaccinated international travellers will be eligible to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) travel.
On July 19, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Government of Canada announced the easing of border measures for fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States. At that time he also announced a tentative plan to allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals from all countries into Canada for discretionary purposes starting on September 7, 2021. The Government of Canada has now implemented that plan and fully vaccinated travellers can now travel to Canada for any reason, subject to standard immigration eligibility. This decision essentially restores standard travel and immigration rules for fully vaccinated travellers.
Requirements to Enter Canada for Discretionary Travel
To be eligible to enter Canada for discretionary (non-essential) travel on or after September 7, 2021, foreign nationals must be fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated travellers are those who have received the appropriate number of doses of Canada-approved vaccines – or combination of vaccines – (AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) at least 14 days prior to entering the country.
Eligible travellers must also:
- provide evidence supporting their full vaccination status in English, French or with a certified translation (along with the original);
- provide COVID-19-related information electronically through ArriveCAN (app or web portal) including proof of vaccination prior to departing for Canada (subject to limited exceptions);
- have a valid pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result taken no more than 72 hours prior to their scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing;
- take a COVID-19 test on arrival, if randomly selected; and
- be asymptomatic upon arrival.
Along with these eligibility criteria, travellers must still meet all standard immigration eligibility criteria. Fully vaccinated travellers will not be required to quarantine or self-isolate on entry to Canada, subject to any provincial public health orders that may apply. Post-arrival COVID-19 testing will also no longer be mandatory for all travellers, although random selection for testing may occur.
If a traveller is not fully vaccinated, travel restrictions and quarantine measures that have been in place throughout the pandemic will continue to apply. Read our COVID-19 Measures For Travellers Entering Canada blog for more information.
New Guidelines for Travelling with Unvaccinated Children
Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are exempt from quarantine when accompanied by their fully vaccinated parents/guardians. However, they must follow enhanced public health measures, which includes not attending daycare or school for 14 days.
Unvaccinated children between the ages of 12 to 17 and dependent children 18 or older (who have a mental or physical condition) are permitted to enter Canada with their fully vaccinated parent and/or guardian, but are subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
All unvaccinated children (except those under 5 years of age) will remain subject to day one and day eight post-arrival testing requirements.
Other Updates regarding Travel to Canada
Direct commercial and private passenger flights from India are temporarily suspended until at least September 21, 2021. Direct flights from Morocco are also suspended until at least September 29, 2021. While flight restrictions are in place, travellers from India and Morocco coming to Canada via an indirect route must obtain a valid pre-departure COVID-19 test result from a third country (other than India or Morocco) before continuing into Canada.
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.
Travel during COVID-19 can be difficult to navigate and inconsistent application of the rules is common. Individuals planning to travel to Canada during the pandemic should obtain a full review and opinion to ensure rules are correctly applied to their application for entry. MLT Aikins has significant experience advising clients on immigration law matters and would be pleased to discuss the implications of this program.
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.