Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will soon be able to return to Canada without a mandatory quarantine.
Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens who test negative for Covid-19 will be exempt from two weeks of quarantine when returning to the country as of July 5, officials said Monday. "If you are planning to travel internationally this summer, keep in mind to check the requirements of the country that you're visiting, and remember that many countries have had to make sudden changes as they cope with rising cases or severe outbreaks", she said Monday.
Travellers who are now able to enter Canada under the existing rules and are fully vaccinated will be able to do so without having to self-isolate for 14 days, taking a test on day eight, or having to stay in a quarantine hotel upon arrival.
"It is the travellers' responsibility to plan ahead, to understand their obligations, and to ensure that they are eligible".
To be considered for the exemption, the travellers must have received a vaccine that is now approved for use in Canada, and must have received all required doses at least 14 days before leaving. Officials briefing reporters on the new procedures said that the vaccinations do not have to be administered in Canada, and the list of applicable vaccines could change over time.
A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure for Canada will still be required, as will a second test taken upon arrival in the country. A previous version said all other travellers who have not been fully vaccinated will still have to stay in hotel quarantine, instead of just those arriving by air. The new rules don't apply to tourists, and non-residents and partially vaccinated Canadians will still need to do the full quarantine.
The federal government says more details about what information will be required and how to upload information to the app will be made available by July 5. "But we're also requiring travellers to retain a copy of their vaccination documents, originals or a certified translation, for verification by the border service officers".
Non-vaccinated children under the age of 18 and dependent adults travelling with them will also be exempt from the hotel stay, but will still need to isolate for 14 days.
If a fully vaccinated traveller does test positive they will be required to follow local public health guidance and quarantine requirements.
As well, vaccinated travellers won't be subjected to the controversial three-day mandatory hotel quarantine - a program derided by many experts as a needless and ineffective measure to halt COVID-19 infections from entering Canada via global travel. At present, less than a fifth of Canadians have received two shots, according to data compiled by CTV News.
At this time, global flights will still only be allowed to land at four designated airports: Montréal-Trudeau worldwide Airport, Toronto Pearson worldwide Airport, Calgary worldwide Airport, and Vancouver worldwide Airport.
The U.S. -Canada border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.
"The cautious adjustments announced today are only possible because of the tremendous efforts of Canadians, and additional ones will only happen if we continue to protect each other", said Health Minister Patty Hajdu when announcing the loosened restrictions on Monday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now in self-isolation following his recent trip to Europe for the G7 Summit and other high-level meetings with world leaders.
The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021.
"We recognize that people are anxiously awaiting to reopen the border", Blair said. "We are seeing the benefits of the vaccination and how it is helping to prevent the ongoing transmission of the disease..."
Monday's announcement did not offer any new assurances for families waiting to reunite with loved ones on the other side of the USA border.