Starting next month Canada will allow non-Canadian, non-essential travellers to return to this country for the first time since the pandemic began. The phased-in plan to lower border barriers erected to limit the spread of COVID-19 will enable US citizens and permanent residents to arrive as of Aug.9 and international travellers on Sept. 7. Only those who are fully vaccinated will be welcome.
The government’s announcement includes some important fine print, and altered protocols for all travellers, which, in some cases, will equally benefit Canadians returning to the country. They include:
• Vaccinations must take place at least 14 days in advance of arrival in Canada using COVID-19 vaccines approved in this country.
• Travellers will still be required to submit a negative COVID-19 molecular test result and proof of vaccination prior to arrival by way of the ArriveCAN smartphone app or web portal.
• Travellers must also have a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation in English or French (or certified translation) ready to show a government official on request as evidence.
• Effective the second week of August, post-travel test results will no longer be necessary upon arrival in Canada and the 14-day quarantine requirement will also be waived. However, all travellers must still provide a quarantine plan and be prepared to quarantine in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.
• Air travellers will no longer be required to spend the first three nights of their quarantine at a government-approved hotel.
• Children under 12 who are accompanied by fully vaccinated and eligible family members will also be exempt from quarantine, provided they wear a mask in public places and avoid indoor group settings.
• Canada Border Services Agency officials will also be subjecting random travellers to a mandatory molecular test upon arrival.
• All direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India remain restricted until Aug. 21, 2021, at 23:59 EDT.
• A person who submits false information on vaccination status could be liable to a fine of up to $750,000, six months imprisonment, or both, under the Quarantine Act, or prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery. Those violating required quarantine face fines of up to $5,000 per day.
“This strategy allows the government of Canada to continue monitoring variants of concern in Canada and vaccine effectiveness,” the government said in a news release, adding, “Using these layers of protection, the government… can monitor the COVID-19 situation in Canada, respond quickly to threats and guide decisions on restricting international travel.”
Meanwhile, as of Aug. 9, airports in Halifax, Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton will also be added to the list of Canadian cities (currently Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver) where international flights are permitted to land.