Authorization for individuals travelling to Canada for International Single Sport Events
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- Getting a letter of authorization
- Minimizing the risk of introduction or spread of COVID‑19
The Government of Canada continues to implement border measures to limit the introduction and spread of COVID‑19.
At this time, the Government of Canada has prohibited foreign nationals from all countries from entering Canada for discretionary purposes and has enacted mandatory quarantine requirements.
Current border measures to limit the spread of COVID‑19 include provisions to exempt individuals travelling to Canada from the prohibition of entry and/or quarantine requirements if they are participating in an International Single Sport Event (ISSE). These individuals must be affiliated with a National Sport Organization (NSO) and be high‑performance amateur athletes participating in the ISSE or engaging in an essential role in relation to the event.
Getting a letter of authorization
The Department of Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) is currently considering requests from NSOs seeking letters of authorization for high‑performance amateur athletes participating in an ISSE or engaging in an essential role in relation to the event. As part of the authorization process, the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage may issue a letter of authorization to an individual traveling to Canada after receiving the following information from the NSO responsible for the ISSE:
- A plan that specifies measures to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID‑19.
- A letter of support for the plan from the provincial or territorial government in Canada where the ISSE will take place.
- A letter of support for the plan from the local public health authority (provincial/territorial and municipal). Given the evolving COVID‑19 situation, the NSO responsible for the ISSE will need to ensure this support is ongoing and must therefore provide updated letters upon request.
- The names and contact information of all travelling to Canada who would be taking part in the ISSE as a high‑performance athlete or as a person engaging in an essential role in relation to the event. Individuals have to be affiliated with a national organization responsible for the sport in question.
Foreign nationals participating in an ISSE
The letter of authorization issued by the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage is not a travel document and does not, on its own, authorize foreign nationals to travel to Canada.
In addition to the letter of authorization issued by the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage, foreign nationals must have a valid passport and valid travel document (visitor visa or electronic travel authorization [eTA]), if required.
Travellers must also meet all other public health requirements to travel to and enter Canada.
All documents and inquiries should be sent by the NSO responsible for the ISSE via email to Canadian Heritage (Sport Canada) at email@example.com.
Please allow 5 to 7 business days before receiving a response.
Authorization for individuals travelling to Canada to take part in an ISSE is a complex process that involves many government departments and agencies.
The process begins upon receipt of the NSO’s plan to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID‑19, together with initial letters of support.
The process can take up to 3 months, or longer.
At all times, the safety of athletes, persons engaging in an essential role and the Canadian population remains the Government of Canada’s top priority.
Please note that the authorization process is subject to change at any time given the evolving COVID‑19 situation.
Using a letter of authorization
The letter of authorization from the Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage is required to travel to and enter Canada. It is only valid for a single entry and solely for the purpose of participating in and for the duration of the ISSE.
In addition, all travellers are required to provide contact information using the ArriveCAN web or mobile application
Minimizing the risk of introduction or spread of COVID‑19
The NSO hosting an ISSE is responsible for developing a plan to minimize the risk of introduction or spread of COVID‑19.
The Government of Canada must be consulted on plans that involve the participation of individuals seeking exemptions to the prohibition of entry and/or quarantine requirements for Canada.
NSOs planning a domestic event should work with their provincial/territorial government and local public health authorities.
A suitable plan to minimize the risks of introduction or spread of COVID‑19 must include, at a minimum:
- A robust risk mitigation plan which outlines the capacity to test, trace and isolate positive cases of COVID‑19 and prevent its spread.
- Any additional protocols as required by provincial/territorial and local public health authorities.
- A detailed explanation of a “bubble” approach the NSO plans to implement to limit the potential introduction and spread of COVID‑19 between athletes and non‑athletes. This should include, at a minimum, detailed information on the arrival and departure of participants, accommodations, provision of food and beverages, as well as local transportation.
- A detailed explanation of the physical measures that will be in place at facilities to limit both human interactions and contact with physical surfaces.
- A detailed explanation of rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocols.
The following guidance documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada can assist NSOs in developing their plan:
- Community‑based measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID‑19) in Canada
- Risk mitigation tool (RMT) for workplaces/business operating during the COVID‑19 pandemic
- Public health management of cases and contacts associated with COVID‑19
- Coronavirus disease (COVID‑19): Awareness resources
- COVID‑19: Travel, quarantine and borders
- COVID‑19 information for travellers within Canada
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