On June 21, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that effective July 5, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT Canadian citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals who are currently eligible to enter Canada as outlined in the current travel restrictions may be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine, the mandatory three-day hotel stay, and the Day-8 COVID-19 test (the “Quarantine Requirements”). This article will provide an overview of the new policy.
How is Fully Vaccinated Defined?
For the purpose of this policy, fully vaccinated is defined as an individual who has received the full series of a vaccine (two doses, unless it is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) or a combination of vaccines, accepted by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days prior to entering Canada. For example, the first dose could be AstraZeneca and the second dose could be Pfizer or Moderna. There are currently four vaccines that are accepted by the Government of Canada: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The list of qualifying vaccines is subject to change. The traveller may have received their vaccine in any country as long as they can provide proof of completing the vaccination in either English or French or a certified translation.
How Does a Traveller Demonstrate This?
Being fully vaccinated does not automatically exempt the traveller from the Quarantine Requirements. The traveller still needs to electronically submit COVID-19 related information into the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before the traveller’s arrival to Canada, meet the pre-arrival and arrival COVID-19 test requirements, be asymptomatic, and have a suitable quarantine plan. The traveller must enter the following information in the ArriveCAN app:
- Travel and contact information;
- Quarantine plan;
- Vaccination information; and
- COVID-19 symptoms self-assessment.
I am Fully Vaccinated. Am I Still Subject to the Quarantine Requirement and Mandatory Hotel Stay? What About Those Travelling With Me?
All current travel restrictions and requirements remain unchanged until July 6, 2021. Prior to July 6, 2021, all travellers arriving in Canada by air plane are required to complete the mandatory hotel stay for up to three nights in order to wait for their COVID-19 test results that they have completed upon arrival at a Canadian airport, and to complete the balance of the 14 days quarantine period at the quarantine site. Commencing July 6, 2021, travellers who are fully vaccinated and are exempt from the current travel restrictions would be able to travel to Canada without needing to complete the mandatory hotel stay and quarantine requirement. Under the new policy, non-vaccinated children under 18 years of age and dependent adults travelling with parents who are fully vaccinated will also be exempt from the mandatory hotel stay requirement. After entry to Canada, if the traveller tests positive or is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the traveller is required to follow local public health requirements.
I am Fully Vaccinated. Do I Still Need to Do a Day-8 Test?
Fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from the Day-8 COVID-19 testing requirement. All other travellers who are over five years of age, regardless of citizenship, will continue to be required to complete a post-arrival test on Day-8 of their quarantine.
I am Entering Canada to Work and Am Fully Vaccinated. How Does This Affect Me?
The Chief Public Health Officer has determined that certain workers are exempt from quarantine, including technicians and specialists specified by a government, manufacturer, or company, who enter Canada as required for the purpose of maintaining, repairing, installing or inspecting equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure and are required their service within 14 days of their entry to Canada and have reasonable rationales for the immediacy of the work and the inability to plan for a 14-day quarantine would be exempt from the requirement to quarantine upon entry into Canada. Some of these individuals have had difficulties demonstrating to border officers that they qualify for a quarantine exemption. The new policy finally takes vaccination status into account and will facilitate the entry of essential workers.
The Government of Canada is easing border measures. The new policy only applies to Canadian citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals who are currently eligible to enter Canada as outlined in the current travel restrictions. This means fully vaccinated U.S. citizens are not yet allowed to travel to Canada for tourism. The rules surrounding travel restrictions and quarantine requirements change frequently. If you have any questions, please contact Daniel Lee or Douglas Tsoi.