Fully vaccinated Canadians can soon enter the country by land or air without having to quarantine — as long as they test negative for COVID-19.
The federal government made the announcement Monday, saying to qualify as “fully vaccinated” means Canadians have to be vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca or one dose of Janssen.
The rule kicks in on July 5 at 11:59 p.m. EST. It will apply only to people already eligible to travel to Canada, including citizens, permanent residents and people registered under the Indian Act.
“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,” Dominic LeBlanc, minister of intergovernmental affairs, said at a press conference.
Travellers must submit their vaccine information to the ArriveCan app before their arrival at the border, the feds said. They also must take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before arrival at the border, take a second test upon arrival and have a quarantine plan in the event the arrival test comes back positive.
If you test negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated you are exempt from quarantine, government-authorized hotel stays and taking a COVID-19 test on day eight.
Those who aren’t eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine — such as children under 12 years old — still face travel restrictions.
For example, non-vaccinated children under 18 or dependent adults travelling with them will be exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine stays. However, children still have to quarantine for 14 days at home. Fully vaccinated parents do not need to isolate with them.
“Undoubtedly this will be challenging for families that want to travel,” federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said. “The research and science indicate that children can still be sick and transmit COVID-19 and because vaccines aren’t authorized for use of children under 12, unfortunately, most children will not be vaccinated.”
She added that allowing children to quarantine at home ensures that any unvaccinated traveller potentially infected with COVID-19 is taking the appropriate public health measures.
On top of children, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers will still face travel restrictions, such as mandatory hotel stays when they land by air.
Travel restrictions for foreign nationals still remains in place.
In terms of Phase 2 of the border reopening plans, the federal government has yet to lay out a plan.
“We recognize the desire and the anxiety to restart travel,” Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra said at the press conference. “We need to continue to be responsible and prudent, but we also need to engage (with the) industry on preparing for Phase 2.”
He said the feds have been talking with the industry and provinces about expanding the number of airports that allow incoming international travel.
Another change that was announced is that individuals approved for permanent residence are now able to travel to Canada as of Monday.
Previously, foreign nationals who held a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) issued after March 18, 2020 could only come to Canada if they were coming from the U.S. to settle permanently in Canada.