How non-vaccinated travellers will be affected, what this means for the Canada-U.S. border and more.👇
On Monday, June 21, the federal government announced several big changes to Canada's travel restrictions for Canadians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
During a press conference, leading federal officials confirmed that from July 5, some travellers will be eligible to skip the two-week quarantine period and hotel stay upon their arrival in Canada.
They will also be able to skip the day-eight COVID-19 test.
If you missed Monday's announcement, or feel unsure about what this means for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Canadians, here's absolutely everything you need to know.
What has actually changed?
While Monday's announcement was a pretty big update to Canada's travel rules overall, the changes will not impact the majority of Canadians just yet.
This is because the updated restrictions will only apply to Canadians and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated — meaning they've received the full series of a Health-Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
From July 5, 2021, those who meet the eligibility criteria will not be subject to the two-week quarantine requirement upon arrival in Canada, or the government-authorized hotel stay. They'll also be able to skip the day-eight COVID-19 test, which is taken post-arrival.
They will still be required to meet all other mandatory travel requirements though, including pre- and on-arrival COVID-19 testing.
They must also be asymptomatic and prepared to submit a backup quarantine plan and proof of their vaccination status.
Can fully vaccinated Canadians go on vacation now?
In some ways, it will become a little simpler for fully vaccinated Canadians to go on vacation.
This is not because any outbound travel rules have changed, but because it will become easier for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers to return home after a trip overseas.
While unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Canadians are still required to quarantine for two weeks and stay in a quarantine hotel upon their return, fully vaccinated individuals will be able to skip this process altogether.
That said, the federal government continues to advise against all non-essential travel abroad.
Additionally, just because Canada's travel rules have been updated for fully vaccinated people, that doesn't mean other countries' entry requirements have changed.
Every country has its own set of rules and restrictions related to incoming travel and it's important to check and double-check the specific measures in place before booking a trip.
When will the rules change for unvaccinated Canadians?
As of June 22, Canada's border measures have not changed for people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, even if they meet all other aspects of the criteria.
Those who have yet to receive the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine must continue to follow all of the current testing and federal quarantine measures, including the mandatory hotel stay for air travellers and the 14-day quarantine period.
The feds haven't provided any details just yet related to when the rules could change for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Canadians, but said they will "continue to consider further targeted measures at the borders—and when to lift or adjust them—to keep Canadians safe and the economy running."
What about kids?
When announcing the updates on Monday, Canada's officials admitted that things will be a little more "challenging" for fully vaccinated parents travelling with kids.
This is because there are currently no COVID-19 vaccines authorized for children under 12 in Canada, meaning they would not qualify as "fully vaccinated" right now.
"At this time, the research and science obviously indicate that children can get sick with COVID-19 and they can transmit COVID-19," Health Minister Patty Hajdu acknowledged.
For this reason, she said, kids under 12 must continue to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Canada, even if they're travelling with fully vaccinated parents. They must also take a day-eight COVID-19 test.
That said, all eligible Canadians under 18 who are not fully vaccinated will be exempt from the multi-night hotel stay.
How will proof of vaccination work?
For now, travellers entering Canada will submit their proof of vaccination via the ArriveCAN app.
In the app, individuals must upload the details of their first and second dose, in addition to information about the date, country and type of vaccine received. It must also include photos, PDF files, records or receipts "from the vaccinating organization."
Travellers can receive their vaccine in any country, but the documentation must be provided in English, French or with a certified translation.
What does this mean for the Canada-US border?
Per the government's latest announcement, the Canada-U.S. border remains closed to all non-essential travel until at least July 21, 2021.
This has not changed, despite the new rules for fully vaccinated travellers from July 5.
While it's easier for fully vaccinated Canadians to return home to Canada, they are still not permitted to take discretionary trips to countries that are not accepting tourists from Canada (like the U.S.).
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