Is Canada’s New Border Normal - Covid-19?
Canada has recently announced significant changes to its border measures, particularly for fully vaccinated individuals. This article offers a detailed overview of the new procedures, crucial dates, and their implications for travellers.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has outlined two key dates in its new travel protocols. From August 9, 2021, American citizens and permanent residents can enter Canada. From September 7, 2021, residents of other countries will be eligible, pending Canada's COVID-19 epidemiology remains favourable.
Eligibility for Entry
The new rules apply to 'non-essential' travel, meaning discretionary travel is permissible. However, travellers must meet specific requirements or face denial of entry, fines, and other penalties.
To be considered 'fully vaccinated', a traveller must have received the full dose(s) of a vaccine approved by the Government of Canada, at least 14 days before arrival. The accepted vaccines are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
Despite the easing of measures, some COVID-19 criteria remain. Airlines will verify that travellers to Canada have submitted their information digitally via the ArriveCAN app before boarding. Those who fail to show their ArriveCAN receipt will be denied boarding.
The ArriveCAN app or website is a crucial tool for travellers. It must be used to submit information before boarding a flight to Canada, and a receipt from the app must be available to show airline staff.
Pre-Entry Testing Requirements
Travellers must meet pre-entry testing requirements, be asymptomatic, and possess a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French (or a certified translation).
Changes for Recovered COVID-19 Patients
Those who have recovered from COVID-19 but still test positive can present positive test results from 14 to 180 days before arrival in Canada as part of their pre-arrival test requirements.
Eased Protocols for Fully Vaccinated Travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless randomly selected. They will also be exempt from the 3-night government-authorized hotel stay requirement and the pre-boarding temperature screening.
Changes for Unvaccinated Children
Unvaccinated children under 12 years of age, and dependent children of fully vaccinated travellers, will no longer need to complete a 14-day quarantine. However, they must still adhere to strict public health measures.
Mandatory Mask Wearing
Despite the eased measures, mask-wearing remains compulsory at airports and during all flights to, from, and within Canada.
Quarantine Plan Requirement
All travellers must provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine if they do not meet the requirements.
Testing Requirements for Unvaccinated Travellers
Unvaccinated travellers must undergo COVID-19 molecular tests on Day-1 and Day-8, and complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine, with limited exceptions.
These new measures offer hope for a return to normalcy while continuing to prioritize public health. However, travellers should stay informed about the latest updates to ensure a smooth travel experience.
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This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.