CIMM - NHL Playoffs and Calgary Stampede - June 2, 2021
The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting the health and safety of Canadians.
As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, I have granted nine class-based national interest quarantine exemptions for professional sports leagues – four for the National Hockey League, one for Major League Baseball and four for Major League Soccer (for a total of 1,971 individuals).
All class-based quarantine exemptions were granted following extensive consultations with the Minister of Health.
The Government of Canada has received requests for class-based national interest quarantine exemptions in support of the NHL’s 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well as a request for rodeo participants for the Calgary Stampede in July 2021.
My department is working with Health Canada to assess a quarantine exemption request made by the NHL, seeking a modified quarantine plan to enable cross-border play for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Allowing cross-border play must be achieved by minimizing the importation and spread of COVID-19 in Canada.
Should a quarantine exemption be granted in this instance, all players, staff, and vendors must abide by the conditions imposed on the league to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This includes frequent testing, social distancing and appropriate use of personal protective equipment.
If an individual breaches the conditions imposed, they no longer fall within the exemption and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The Government of Canada has received a national interest quarantine exemption request for the Calgary Stampede, which is scheduled to take place from July 9-18, 2021 in Calgary.
Stampede organizers have been working with the Public Health Agency of Canada to create a robust risk mitigation plan for the rodeo participants, who would be travelling to Canada from the United States.
This request is currently under review by the Government of Canada.
The Ministers Foreign Affairs, Public Safety and I have the authority to grant individual or class-based exemptions from the quarantine requirements in the national interest.
We have used this national interest exemption authority in limited situations for class-based exemptions. Each decision is weighed carefully against the national interest in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to mitigate the importation and spread of COVID-19. I have not issued any individual quarantine exemptions.
I granted certain professional sports leagues class-based quarantine exemptions. As work permit holders, these professional players and support staff were already exempt from travel/entry restrictions.
These quarantine exemptions were made following consultations with the Minister of Health and with endorsement from provincial and municipal public health authorities.
These quarantine exemptions recognize the importance of professional sports for Canadian society and our economy. They are being implemented in a manner that will continue to emphasize protecting the health and safety of the players, personnel, spectators, as well as the Canadian public.
Supporting facts and figures
National interest quarantine exemptions
The Minister granted nine class-based national interest exemptions from the quarantine requirements for professional sporting leagues:
Four class-based national interest exemptions from quarantine were granted to players and staff of the National Hockey League: one for the players and staff for the 2020 playoff season staff (granted on June 26, 2020), one for third party vendors and service providers (granted on July 15, 2020), one for return to practice in advance of the 2021 season in advance of regular season play (granted on December 24, 2020) and one for in-season additions (granted on March 25, 2021).
One class-based national interest exemption from quarantine was granted to players and staff of Major League Baseball for pre-season training only (granted on July 2, 2020).
Four class-based national interest exemptions from quarantine were granted to players and staff of Major League Soccer: one for pre-season training (granted on August 9, 2020), one for pre-playoff training (granted on November 10, 2020), one for pre-tournament practice for the Montreal Impact (granted on December 9, 2020), and one for pre-season training (granted on March 25, 2021).
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, these quarantine exemptions applied to a total of 1,971 individuals as follows:
1,638 individuals from the National Hockey League
20 individuals from Major League Baseball
134 individuals from Major League Soccer for 2020 pre-season training
104 individuals from Major League Soccer for pre-playoff training
45 individuals from Major League Soccer for pre-tournament
30 individuals from Major League Soccer for 2021 pre-season training