The federal government announced today that fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be able to enter Canada without undergoing quarantine starting from the night of July 5.
The news comes as several Canadian provinces have achieved key vaccination targets, with more than 75 percent of eligible Canadians receiving at least one dose and more than 20 percent receiving two doses.
However, Canadians and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated will simply not be able to pass through customs.
According to officials at a government briefing to reporters, entrants will need to show documents proving they have received doses of vaccines approved in Canada at least 14 days before entering the country.
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Officials said travelers should submit information regarding COVID-19 electronically to the government Access Apply before arrival, meet pre-arrival and on-arrival testing requirements, have no symptoms and have an appropriate quarantine plan.
“The final decision on exemptions is made by a government representative at the border based on information provided at the time of entry into Canada, which is why a quarantine plan is still required,” a government media statement said.
If approved, accepted travelers will not have to be quarantined. Those arriving by air will also not be forced to stay in a government authorized hotel, and unvaccinated children or dependent adults traveling with them will also be exempted from hotel accommodation.
An official who spoke in the background said that children who have not been vaccinated will be able to go home with their parents, but they must quarantine for two weeks.
The new rules — which began on July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET — cover Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those registered under Indian law. Some foreign nationals have already been allowed to enter Canada. Including international students.
Watch | Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has said in full that Canada will lift restrictions on some fully vaccinated travelers in early July
There are no changes to border restrictions for travelers who have not been fully vaccinated. Those landing by air will remain in hotel quarantine for up to three days awaiting a negative arrival test, quarantine at home for the remainder of the 14-day period and be tested on the eighth day of the self-isolation period.
More Vaccines Mean ‘Significant Easing’ of Border Restrictions
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair hinted at future steps in reopening the Canadian border during an interview Monday on CBC power politics.
Blair said the government now had its sights set on fully vaccinating 75 percent of the population, at which point Canada could relax safety measures at its borders.
“The gains are for Canadians, and for all of us, when we get this far, we will be able to accommodate significant border facilities. [restrictions]Blair told David Cochrane of CBC.
Canada could also begin to welcome fully vaccinated tourists when the country reaches the 75 percent vaccination mark.
“I think this will mean easing restrictions on fully vaccinated travelers and lifting the current ban on non-essential travel,” Blair said, noting that the change would be made in consultation with public health officials.
Canadians are still advised to avoid non-essential travel
While Blair outlined a roadmap that would allow fully vaccinated non-resident tourists to return to Canada, the facilities planned for July 5 do not apply to foreign nationals. Ottawa announced Friday that it will maintain existing restrictions at the Canada-US border for at least another month, until July 21.
“At this time, the Government of Canada continues to strongly advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel,” Blair said.
“Although the future looks much brighter than it has for a long time, with cases of COVID-19 heading down and vaccination efforts going well across the country, we cannot let our guard down.”
Mariscott Greenwood, chief executive of the Canadian American Business Council, said she was frustrated by the federal government’s rationale for not allowing fully vaccinated US citizens into the country.
“What’s the difference between fully vaccinated Canadians and fully vaccinated Americans? Unless you’re working in the NHL, in which case I think there’s a special exception,” she said.
“It’s frustrating, not just for Americans but for the Canadian companies we work with on a daily basis. We need to get back to a place where we can do business in a safe way, and Canada is also, for reasons that bewildering us, very reluctant.”
Health Minister Patti Hajdu said she is still consulting with the provinces on the next phase of easing travel restrictions.
“As we’ve been telling Canadians all along, mitigation measures at the border are going to happen as we see our communities becoming increasingly safe,” she said.
“We’ll get back to Canadians in the near future on the kinds of metrics that will allow us the confidence to reduce actions even further.”
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Extension of ban on flights from India
Goldie Haider, president and CEO of the Canadian Business Council, said the government must have a clear plan to open up international travel.
“A transparent plan with clear parameters to reopen travel would be a powerful tool to encourage Canadians to get fully vaccinated. The council is disappointed that the government has not seen fit to tell Canadians what they can look forward to as the vaccination campaign continues,” he said in a statement.
“I’m disappointed, too, that the light at the end of the tunnel is still far from the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors in Canada.”
During Monday’s press conference, Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghubra also announced that the government is ending the ban on flights from Pakistan, but is extending the ban on flights from India for at least another month due to the high number of cases.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino also announced that individuals approved for permanent residence can travel to Canada from June 21. Previously, foreign nationals with a valid confirmation of permanent residence issued on or before March 18, 2020, were exempt from Canadian travel restrictions.
Watch | Update on how permanent residents can travel to Canada
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