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Bulletin | Covid-19

Canada to Allow Non-Essential Travel for the First Time Since March 2020

Fasken
Reading Time 4 minute read
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Immigration Bulletin

Introduction

On July 19, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that effective August 9, 2021 at 12:01 am EDT, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated and living in the United States will be permitted to enter Canada from the United States for non-essential travel, such as tourism, without having to quarantine. This will extend to all fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective September 7, 2021 at 12:01 am EDT. This means entry to Canada will continue to be temporarily prohibited for travellers who are not fully vaccinated unless they meet one of the current travel exemptions in the Order in Council made under the Quarantine Act. This article will provide an overview of the new border measures for fully vaccinated travellers.

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. This list is subject to change. The traveller may have received their vaccine in any country as long as they can provide proof of vaccination in English or French or a certified translation.

How Does a Traveller Demonstrate That They Are Fully Vaccinated?

Being fully vaccinated does not automatically exempt the traveller from the 14-day quarantine requirement. The traveller still needs to submit COVID-19 related information into the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours before arriving in Canada, complete the pre-arrival COVID-19 test, be asymptomatic, and have a suitable quarantine plan. The traveller must enter the below information in the ArriveCAN app:

  • Travel and contact information;
  • Quarantine plan;
  • Vaccination information; and
  • COVID-19 symptoms self-assessment.

Have Quarantine Requirements Changed?

As of July 5, 2021, travellers who are fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine. They also do not need to stay at a government authorized hotel for up to three days pending their COVID-19 test results, if entering by air.

As of 12:01 am EDT on August 9, 2021, this hotel stay requirement will be eliminated for all travellers, including those who have not been vaccinated or do not meet the Canadian government’s definition of fully vaccinated. Further, the Government of Canada will use a new border testing surveillance program at airports and land border crossings. Fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete one. However, travellers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to complete post-arrival tests on day one and day eight and complete a 14-day quarantine, unless exempted from the quarantine requirement.

Are Children Under 12 Required to Quarantine?

In Canada, children under 12 are not allowed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Given this, unvaccinated children under 12 and dependent children (due to a mental or physical condition) of fully vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to complete a 14-day quarantine as of 12:01 am EDT on August 9, 2021. However, the children must follow strict public health measures. This means they may move around with their parents but should avoid group settings (e.g., schools, camps, daycares) during the first 14 days after their arrival in Canada. Further, unvaccinated children five and older will remain subject to the requirement to complete a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada and on day eight.

Can Travellers from Canada Drive to the United States?

Despite Canada relaxing border measures, the United States has extended the current travel restrictions to at least August 21, 2021. This means travelling to the United States by land is restricted to essential and non-discretionary purposes. The United States continue to allow travellers to enter the country by air for any purpose, including tourism.

Conclusion

The Government of Canada is easing border measures. The new policy only applies to travellers who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the Government of Canada. Those who are not fully vaccinated cannot enter Canada unless they meet one of the current travel exemptions in the Order in Council made under the Quarantine Act. The rules surrounding travel restrictions and quarantine requirements change frequently.

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