As of Monday morning, fully vaccinated Canadians are able to enter the country without having to undergo the government-mandated 14-day quarantine.
Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those registered under the Indian Act who have received a full course of an approved vaccine will be exempt from the longstanding measure as long as it has been 14 days since their vaccination.
In an email to Daily Hive, Mark Johnson, the Chief of Media Relations with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, said some foreign nationals who are currently eligible to enter Canada without quarantine are for “compassionate reasons” or international students who are fully vaccinated.
“This first step does not open the border to everybody who is fully vaccinated,” said Johnson. “Only those travellers who are currently eligible to enter Canada and are now fully vaccinated, are eligible for these new measures if they meet specific criteria and requirements. So tourists are still not allowed even if fully vaccinated.”
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To date, Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use against COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson.
Travellers are required to electronically submit proof of their vaccination into the ArriveCAN app prior to their arrival in Canada. A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure for Canada is still required, as well as a second test taken upon arrival in the country.
Non-vaccinated children under the age of 18 and dependent adults travelling with them will also be exempt from the hotel stay, but will still need to isolate for 14 days.
As the final determination of quarantine exemption is made at the border based on a traveller’s information, a quarantine plan is still required, should it be decided that they do not meet the measures in place.
Officials noted that the quarantine exemption does not apply to unvaccinated travellers, who will still be subject to the two-week quarantine for the foreseeable future.
At this time, international flights will still only be allowed to land at four designated airports: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.
“At this time, the Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel,” said Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety at the end of June when the phased border plans were announced.
“Our 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.”
Canada’s borders have been closed to non-essential travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with officials regularly touting the restrictions as “some of the strongest border measures in the world.”