Backgrounder: Phase 1 of easing border measures for travellers entering Canada
With new, more transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus in countries around the world, the Government of Canada continues to take a data-driven and precautionary approach to its border measures for travellers entering Canada. The Government of Canada's phased approach to easing border measures is grounded in meeting specific public health criteria, and based on scientific evidence and the epidemiological situation in Canada and globally. The Government of Canada will continue to review the available evidence and monitor the situation to determine future border measures adjustments to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
For all travellers eligible to enter Canada, planning in advance to ensure all mandatory requirements are met is crucial. In addition, some provinces and territories may have their own entry restrictions in place. Check and follow both the federal and any provincial or territorial restrictions and requirements before travelling.
The first phase of Canada's approach to easing border measures will begin on July 5, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, for fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada under the current travel restrictions. This phase will continue to restrict entry to Canada of foreign nationals, unless they already meet an exemption set out in the border restrictions, maintains pre- and on arrival testing for all travellers, and monitors for variants of concern.
Being fully vaccinated will not automatically exempt a traveller from quarantine, the mandatory hotel stay, or day-8 testing. Travellers must also electronically submit COVID-19-related information into ArriveCAN in advance of their arrival, meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic, and have a suitable quarantine plan. Acceptable supporting proof of vaccination, as outlined below, is also required. Final determination regarding exemptions is made by a government representative at the border based on the information presented at the time of entry into Canada, which is why a quarantine plan is still required.
Who is eligible for eased border measures
Fully vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada:
- individuals with right of entry (Canadian citizens, permanent residents and persons registered under the Indian Act); and
- foreign nationals eligible to enter Canada as outlined in the current travel restrictions (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States; Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country other than the United States)
Fully vaccinated means:
- the traveller must have received the full series of a vaccine — or a combination of vaccines — accepted by the Government of Canada at least 14 days prior to entering Canada;
- proof of vaccination must be in English or French (or a certified translation);
- the traveller may have received their vaccine in any country; and
- currently, those vaccines are manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson); however, the list of accepted vaccines may expand in the future as evidence becomes available.
What will change
Quarantine and testing:
- Fully vaccinated travellers currently eligible to enter Canada will not be required to quarantine or complete a day-8 test.
- They must still have a suitable quarantine plan, and be prepared to quarantine, in case it is determined at the border that they do not meet the necessary requirements.
- At any time after entry to Canada, if a fully vaccinated traveller tests positive or are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you must follow all local public health requirements, including quarantine or isolation.
Government-authorized hotel stay:
- Fully vaccinated air travellers, currently eligible to enter Canada, will not be required to quarantine and stay at a government-authorized hotel while they await their on-arrival test result if they meet all of the required criteria.
- Since fully vaccinated individuals are not subject to the requirement to quarantine and stay at a government-authorized hotel, non-vaccinated children under 18 or dependent adults travelling with them will also be exempt from the hotel stay.
Declaring vaccination status
- All travellers (not just fully vaccinated travellers) will now be required to disclose COVID-19 vaccination information, including whether they received a COVID-19 vaccine, the brand name or any other information that identifies the vaccine that was administered, the dates on which the vaccine was administered, and the doses received.
- This information will help identify vaccine-escape variants—that is, variants that make vaccines less effective—when on-arrival tests are analyzed. This information will help shape appropriate public health measures across the country.
- Fully vaccinated travellers who want to be considered for the exemption from quarantine and reduced testing requirements will be required to provide evidence of their vaccination status by uploading supporting English or French documentation (or a certified translation), into the ArriveCAN app or by signing-in online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN before arriving in Canada. Once uploaded, a border services officer will make the final determination for quarantine exemption. More details about the information required and how to enter it into ArriveCAN will be available online by July 5, 2021. Travellers using the ArriveCAN app need to make sure they have the most up-to-date version that will be released on July 5 in the Google Play Store and the App Store for iPhone.
- Travellers must retain a copy (paper or electronic) of their vaccination documentation and originals of any certified translation for verification at the border and for 14 days following their entry to Canada.
- Only travellers whose vaccination status meets the criteria of “fully vaccinated” will be exempt from quarantine, mandatory hotel stay and day-8 testing if certain conditions are met.
What will not change
Entry to Canada
- Foreign nationals who are not eligible for entry under the current Orders in Council (Prohibition of Entry into Canada from the United States; Prohibition of Entry into Canada from any Country other than the United States) will continue to be denied entry to Canada. Generally, this means, fully vaccinated or not, foreign nationals cannot enter for discretionary (non-essential) travel.
- Individuals can use the online tool, “Find out if you can travel to Canada” on the Government of Canada website to find out if they may be eligible to enter Canada.
Pre- and on-arrival testing
- Pre- and on-arrival testing requirements for travellers arriving to Canada by air or land continue to apply for everyone, unless otherwise exempted.
- Unless exempt, all travellers, five years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must:
- provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing (if arriving by land the test must be done in the U.S.), or
- provide proof a positive COVID-19 test taken between 14 and 90 days before their scheduled flight or arrival at the land border crossing, and
- take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival in Canada either at the airport or land border, following instructions provided to you by a government official upon entry to Canada.
- Travellers must retain copies of their test results for the full 14 days after entry to Canada, and be prepared to present them to a government official on demand.
Day 8 testing
- Unless fully vaccinated or otherwise exempt, all travellers five years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must complete a post-arrival test on day 8 of their quarantine, following the instructions received upon entry to Canada.
Quarantine and isolation
- All travellers, including fully vaccinated travellers, must provide a suitable quarantine plan.
- All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers who receive a positive result from their on-arrival or day-8 test must begin isolation for a 14-day period. Travellers who do not meet the requirements for fully vaccinated are still subject to the 14-day quarantine period, even with the receipt of a negative day-8 test result.
- All travellers entering Canada by air and land, unless exempt, must submit their information into ArriveCAN within 72 hours before arrival to Canada, including:
- travel and contact information;
- quarantine plan;
- vaccination information;
- reference code for a confirmed three-night reservation at a government-authorized accommodation (for air travellers only, unless fully vaccinated or exempt), and
- COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.
- Fully vaccinated travellers who wish to be considered for the exemption from quarantine and reduced testing requirements must meet all criteria, including the electronic submission of their vaccination documentation into ArriveCAN prior to arrival in Canada.
- Non-vaccinated travellers must continue to use ArriveCAN or call the 1-833-641-0343 toll-free number to:
- confirm they have arrived at a government-authorized hotel or the address they provided for their place of quarantine or isolation within 48 hours of entering Canada; and
- complete a daily COVID-19 symptom self-assessment during their 14-day quarantine period.
- If you meet the exemption, you may receive notifications from ArriveCAN; however, you are not required to send in reports.
The Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel worldwide. Even as vaccinations roll out in Canada and around the world, travel continues to present a risk of importing cases of COVID-19 and its variants. Restrictions are changing quickly and may be imposed by countries with little warning. Should you choose to travel outside Canada, your travel plans may be severely disrupted. For example, you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
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