Canada to ease border restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers in early July

Canada/U.S. Border Photo by Shutterstock/oksana.perkins

Starting July 5 at 11:59 p.m., fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and certain foreign nationals will be allowed to enter Canada without having to quarantine for 14 days, take a COVID-19 test on day eight, or stay in a government-authorized hotel.

This means cottagers currently eligible to enter Canada under existing rules will be eligible to enter Canada and visit their cottage without quarantining first.

“As we’ve told Canadians all along, easing measures at the border will happen as we see our communities increasingly become safe,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu, during a Monday announcement.

The easing of Canada’s border restrictions comes as the country sees 75 per cent of its population receive their first vaccine dose and 20 per cent fully vaccinated.

In her announcement, Hajdu stressed that the easing of border restrictions only applies to fully vaccinated travellers who are allowed to enter Canada. Travellers with a single vaccine dose will have to continue to abide by the current border measures, including quarantining and testing.

To be eligible for the eased border measures, fully vaccinated travellers must have received their second dose 14 days prior to entering Canada, and they must provide documentation supporting their vaccination in English, French, or with a certified translation.

The vaccines currently recognized by Canada include: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Johnson & Johnson. Hajdu said this list could change over time, and the vaccinations don’t have to be administered in Canada.

When planning to enter the country, fully vaccinated travellers must still submit to certain requirements, such as pre- and on-arrival testing. “We are continuing these testing requirements to allow public health experts to continue to monitor positivity rates at the border and monitor for variants of concern,” Hajdu said. “Having this information will allow public health experts to recommend further adjustments to border measures quickly, if needed.”

Other requirements include submitting COVID-related information 72 hours prior to arrival through ArriveCAN, the government’s online platform for collecting mandatory travel information. Refusing to enter your information or entering fraudulent information could land you a six-month prison sentence and/or $750,000 in fines.

Fully vaccinated travellers will also be required to have an adequate quarantine plan in case border agents decide that a period of self-isolation is necessary once the person enters Canada.

As for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals, access to Canada will be granted depending on their purpose of travel. Foreign nationals will only be allowed into Canada for essential reasons, such as travelling for a funeral or attending school.

Otherwise, Canada’s borders remain closed to U.S. citizens and other international travellers until at least July 21. This means that any U.S. citizens hoping to head north of the border to visit their cottage will be denied entry.

The Canadian government does state that regardless of the foreign national’s reason for travel, the final decision on access will be made by a government official at the port of entry.

“This is the first phase of our precautionary approach to easing Canada’s border measures. At this time, we are not opening up our borders any further. The government of Canada continues to work globally through the World Health Organization as well as closely with the provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, and American authorities on moving forward toward reopening in a way that is safe for both countries,” said Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc, in a statement.

All international commercial flights are still being funneled through Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.

Despite the eased border measures, the government is still advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel, particularly international travel. If you do travel internationally, the government suggests you check the requirements of the country you’re visiting.

“Although the future is looking brighter than it has for a long time with COVID-19 cases on a downward trend and vaccination efforts going well across the country, we can’t let our guard down,” said Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair, in a statement. “Our phased approach to easing border measures is guided by facts, scientific evidence, and the advice of our public health experts. In all that we’re doing in response to this pandemic, our top priority continues to be the health, safety and security of all Canadians.”

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