Individuals fully vaccinated visiting Canada can be released early from quarantine

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Canada is easing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, opening borders to C.O.P.R. holders.

Canada’s phased approach to easing border measures will begin on July 5, 2021 for fully vaccinated travellers.  Individuals that have received all doses of their vaccinations are now considered exempt from the previous travel restrictions, which also includes approved permanent residents.

Fully vaccinated travellers who are permitted to enter Canada will not be subject to the federal requirement to quarantine nor will they have to take a COVID-19 test on day-8 of them being in the country. In addition, fully vaccinated travellers arriving by air will not be required to stay at a government-authorized hotel.

Travellers still have to be exempt from all other travel restrictions in order to cross the border. Canada has now broadened exemptions to include the 23,000 people who have a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued after March 18, 2020.

The pre and on arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for all travellers are still in place. Being fully vaccinated does not automatically free a traveller from quarantine, the mandatory hotel stay, or day-8 testing. Travellers must also electronically submit COVID-19-related information on the ArriveCAN app, or by signing in online at Canada.ca/ArriveCAN before arriving in Canada. More details about the information required and how to enter it into ArriveCAN will be available online by July 5, 2021. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians this was just the first step, while the government works with the provinces on a national vaccination certification.

These exempt travellers can skip the mandatory quarantine, provided their COVID-19 test on arrival comes back negative. Travellers will also have to be asymptomatic and have a suitable quarantine plan, in the event their COVID-19 test on arrival comes back positive.

The traveller must have received all of the required shots to be considered fully vaccinated (2 shots for Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca; and 1 shot for Johnson & Johnson) or a combination of these vaccines at least 14 days prior to entry.  The ones listed above are those that the Government of Canada recognises.  The proof of vaccination must be in English or French, otherwise, travellers will need a certified translation.

Vaccines from any country are acceptable, as long as they are one of the four vaccines approved by Health Canada: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca. The government may expand the list of vaccines in the future as more evidence and research becomes available.

All travellers, including non-vaccinated travellers, will now be required to disclose COVID-19 vaccination information, including whether they received a COVID-19 vaccine, the brand name of the vaccine, or any other information that identifies the specific COVID-19 vaccine they received. 

Only travellers whose vaccination status meets the criteria of “fully vaccinated” will be exempt from quarantine, mandatory hotel stay, and day-8 testing. These measures (quarantine, mandatory hotel stay and day-8 testing) are still in place for people who are not fully vaccinated, including those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have received only one dose of the vaccine.

Children who are not eligible to be vaccinated will still be required to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine and day-8 testing, officials said in a technical briefing. Fully vaccinated parents travelling with their children will be permitted to leave their quarantine early, and therefore their children will not be required to quarantine in a hotel, and must simply quarantine in a residence of their choice.

Canada introduced the hotel quarantine measure in February 2021. Trudeau said at a press conference that it was intended to stop travellers from spreading COVID into their home communities. Since it was implemented, however, outside variants have made their way into Canada despite the hotel quarantine measure, which only applied to air travellers.

Canada’s border was originally closed in March, 2020. At first, it was just Canadians, permanent residents, temporary workers, and some international students and COPR holders who were allowed to enter. The government opened up more exemptions in the fall of 2020, welcoming extended family members and students going to a Designated Learning Institution with a COVID-19 readiness plan. Foreign nationals were also able to come for compassionate reasons, such as attending a funeral. Also, the federal government has adjusted the rules to require COVID-19 testing before and after arrival, as well as a period of mandatory quarantine.

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