Federal officials have announced plans to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions at Canada’s international borders.
The first stage of the plan will take effect on July 5 and will end the 14-day quarantine measure for a select group of fully vaccinated travellers.
Officials have not revealed when they expect to move into the next phase, what it will entail, or how many phases their plan includes.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said only that there would be more information about fully vaccinated foreign nationals “in the coming months.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Canada’s newest border measures.
What changes on July 5?
As of 11:59 pm EDT on July 5, fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those registered under the Indian Act will not be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
They will also be exempt from the three-day stay in a government-approved quarantine hotel and will no longer have to provide a negative COVID-19 test eight days after arrival in Canada.
However, being fully vaccinated does not automatically mean that someone can skip quarantine.
Who is exempt under the new measures?
To be considered “fully vaccinated,” eligible travellers must have received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior to their arrival in Canada.
To date, Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use against the virus: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson.
For the new measures to apply to them, fully vaccinated travellers must meet several other requirements.
They will need to submit proof of vaccination – in English, French, or with a certified translation – to the ArriveCAN app before they arrive at the border.
Is COVID-19 testing still required?
A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure will still be required, as will a second test taken upon arrival in Canada.
Travellers must also be asymptomatic. They will still need to have a quarantine plan in place, should a border agent determine that they do not meet the necessary measures.
Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 and dependent adults will be required to stay at a hotel but must still isolate for 14 days.
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Who is not exempt from the measures?
There will be no change in quarantine requirements for travellers who are unvaccinated, people who have one dose, and foreign nationals.
The aforementioned groups will still be subject to a three-day stay at a government-approved hotel, a 14-day isolation period, and testing on the eighth day of their quarantine.
They will still be required to undergo pre-departure and on-arrival testing.
Also, starting July 5, all travellers will be required to disclose their vaccination status, including whether they are immunized, which vaccine they received, and when they were immunized. This information must be entered into the ArriveCAN app before arriving in Canada.