OTTAWA – Restrictions will be eased as of July 5 for travellers to Canada who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The federal government has laid out its plan to roll back some of its COVID-19 measures, and though it lists some loosening of quarantine requirements for people who’ve received a full course of a vaccine, it doesn’t guarantee anything.
Changes for fully vaccinated travellers
As of July 5 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, fully vaccinated travellers, who are permitted entry into Canada, may be able to forego the 14-day quarantine, including the government-authorized hotel stay.
However, being fully vaccinated does not automatically ensure someone is exempt from quarantine requirements. Travellers will still be required to have a “suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.”
BREAKING: Beginning July 5th at 11:59pmET fully vaccinated Canadians returning to our country under current travel rules will be exempt from mandatory hotel and full quarantine rules #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/eEFHgUI3NB
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) June 21, 2021
If they are deemed eligible, people who are allowed to enter Canada will not be required to complete a day-8 test.
As part of the changes, travellers will also be required to disclose their vaccination status. This applies to all people seeking entry to Canada. Information required will include the brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine they received, if they were inoculated, the dates on which the shots were administered, and how many doses they received.
To be considered for the exemption, the travellers must have received a vaccine that is currently approved for use in Canada, and must have received all required doses at least 14 days before leaving.
Vaccines that are currently approved by Health Canada for emergency use are those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen.
Travellers who are deemed exempt from quarantine rules will still be tested upon arrival to Canada. They will also still have to isolate until their day-1 test results come back negative.
Some other measures that will remain in place include requiring travellers five years of age and older to provide proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing.
How do you apply for a quarantine exemption?
The federal government says people who want to be considered for the quarantine exemption, as well as reduced testing requirements after arrival, will need to provide evidence of their vaccination.
To do so, fully vaccinated travellers will have to provide evidence of their vaccination by uploading supporting English or French documentation (or a certified translation) to the ArriveCAN app. This must be done before the traveller arrives at the Canadian border.
The federal government says more details about what information will be required and how to upload information to the app will be made available by July 5.
Travellers will need to have the most up-to-date ArriveCAN app, which will also be released by that time.
In addition to uploading to the app, travellers will also need to retain a copy of their vaccination documentation (either paper or electronic) to be verified at the border. They must have this documentation for two weeks after entering Canada. People who are using a translation will be required to have their original documentation as well.
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says work continues on a proof of vaccination process for Canadians.
“This work includes ongoing discussions with provinces and territories, who have started issuing their own documents. If you are planning to travel internationally this summer, remember to check the requirements of the country that you’re visiting, and remember that many countries have had to make sudden changes as they cope with rising cases or severe outbreaks,” she said Monday.
Non-essential travel still discouraged for Canadians
While the federal government has laid out the details of its first stage of easing travel restrictions, Canadians are still being urged to avoid non-essential travel.
“Although the future is looking brighter than it has for a long time with COVID-19 cases on a downward trend and vaccination efforts going well across the country, we can’t let our guard down,” said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. “Our phased approach to easing border measures is guided by facts, scientific evidence, and the advice of our public health experts. In all that we’re doing in response to this pandemic, our top priority continues to be the health, safety and security of all Canadians.”
No changes have been made to border measures for travellers who are not fully vaccinated. Travel restrictions for foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, remain in place until at least July 21.
“In other words, foreign national coming to Canada for non-essential purposes will be turned away at our borders,” added Blair.
He says data collected in this first phase will help the government “determine the timing of future border measures.”
“Discussions are ongoing with provincial, territory, and international partners, with the aim of allowing for non-essential travel of fully vaccinated foreign nationals into Canada in the coming months,” Blair said.
“As the situation evolves, we will respond with new and adjusted border measures as needed, to keep Canadians safe and the economy running,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra added, noting he will be working with international, provincial, territorial, and industry partners to “determine next steps later this summer.”
“This could include expanding the number of Canadian airports that are eligible to receive international flights, and I hope to have more to share with you soon,” Alghabra explained.