Canada officially easing border measures for fully vaccinated travellers
The federal government has announced plans to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions at Canada’s borders.
On Monday, officials said that as of 11:59 pm on July 5, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to enter the country without having to undergo a 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.
To date, Health Canada has approved four vaccines for use against COVID-19: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson.
“This is the first phase of our precautionary approach to easing Canada’s border measures. At this time, we are not opening up our borders any further,” said Dominic LeBlanc, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Travellers will be 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 will still be required, as will 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 tourists or 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.
“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.”
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Officials have also extended the ban on flights from India until July 21. The Canada-US land border is also closed to non-essential travel until that time.
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.”
Measures were strengthened in February of 2021 with the introduction of hotel quarantines. The fines for skipping the three-day stay were increased as recently as June 3.