On July 5, Canada introduced new rules that provide a quarantine exemption to "fully vaccinated persons" entering Canada. The new rules do NOT ease Canada's COVID-related travel restrictions, but focus only on providing a quarantine exemption for eligible fully vaccinated travellers.
In addition to applying to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, the change applies to foreign nationals who are able to enter Canada under the current travel restrictions.
Eligibility for new quarantine exemption
To be eligible, a traveller must be:
To be "fully vaccinated", the traveller must:
- Have received the full series of vaccine(s) at least 14 days prior to the day of entry;
- The vaccine(s) must be recognized by Canada. As of July 5, these are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson);
- Proof of vaccination must be in English or French (or a certified translation) and be uploaded into the ArriveCAN App.
An officer at the port of entry will make the final decision regarding the quarantine exemption.
Travellers must still do the pre-arrival and arrival COVID tests, and must have a quarantine plan in case quarantine is still required.
If a traveller fails to properly upload proof of vaccination into the ArriveCAN App, the exemption will not be granted. This link sets out what must be uploaded: Providing Proof of Vaccination. Proof of vaccination should also be carried by the traveller upon entry and retained for 14 days after entry.
Accompanying children travelling to Canada with an exempt, fully vaccinated adult will need to quarantine for 14 days, but will not be required to start the quarantine in a government mandated hotel if entering by air.
In situations where foreign national travellers do not meet the criteria for the new quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated travellers, there are a few other quarantine exemption categories that might be applicable, subject to the officer's discretion. However, such quarantine exemptions are very narrow and will not apply to many travellers seeking entry to Canada. Being fully vaccinated, per Canada's definition of that term, is therefore the best strategy to try to avoid the mandatory quarantine.
Please refer to the following links for further information:
The easing of the quarantine requirement for eligible fully vaccinated travellers to Canada is the first step in the gradual easing of COVID-related entry restrictions.
Travellers to Canada need to monitor developments to ensure that they are eligible to travel to Canada and that they follow all required steps to obtain the quarantine exemption if they are a "fully vaccinated person" as defined by the applicable OIC. The rules and requirements will continue to evolve.
Travel and quarantine rules, restrictions and exemptions are complex, and legal advice should be sought regarding them. Please contact a member of Gowling WLG's Immigration Group for further information.
This article was prepared with assistance of Ross Baumann.