On September 7, Canada will open its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from across the globe, and let them skip the country’s 14-day quarantine requirement.
The rule change is significant, as most non-essential foreign travellers have been barred from entering Canada since the start of the pandemic.
The federal government started to relax the rules last month when it began allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter and skip quarantine.
For weeks, the government has called Sept. 7 the “intended” start date for allowing in fully vaccinated foreign travellers from outside the U.S. On Friday afternoon, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirmed those travellers would be welcome as of that date.
The confirmation was a relief to foreign travellers who have already made plans to visit Canada.
What are the new travel rules?
Foreign travellers will have to meet a set of requirements to enter Canada and skip quarantine.
First, to be considered fully vaccinated, they must have received all required doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine 14 days prior to entering.
And within 72 hours before their arrival, travellers must submit their travel information using the ArriveCAN app or by registering online. Uploaded vaccination documents must be in English or French.
“A certified translation of a foreign language certificate is completely acceptable,” said CBSA’s Vinette.
Land travellers must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of planned entry to Canada. Air travellers must take such a test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their final flight to the country.
There are also special requirements for travellers arriving from India or Morocco. Due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in both countries, the federal government has suspended all direct passenger flights from India until Sept. 21 and from Morocco until Sept. 29.
Currently, air passengers from those countries can only enter Canada if they show proof of a negative test taken in a different country and depart from that country to come to Canada.
New guidelines for unvaccinated children
Unvaccinated foreigners who are minors will be allowed to enter Canada with their fully vaccinated parents or guardians, but those 12 or older must quarantine.
Unvaccinated children under 12 can skip quarantine but must follow a strict set of rules for 14 days.
For example, children must avoid all contact with people, such as seniors, who can be more susceptible to falling seriously ill from COVID-19. Children must also avoid crowded settings, such as schools, camps, daycares, amusement parks and sporting events.
They can, however, visit “essential settings,” such as pharmacies or grocery stores, if wearing a mask and accompanied by their guardians.
CBSA’s Vinette said travellers who don’t comply could face fines and even charges.
“There are consequences should you fail to abide by that, and that will be subjected on the parents,” he said.
Provincial vaccine passports
Another hurdle travellers to Canada may face is having to prove their vaccination status to enter certain venues.
In Quebec and Manitoba, people must show proof of vaccination to gain entry to many non-essential locations and activities. Ontario plans to soon implement a similar vaccine passport program, and British Columbia will put one into effect on September 13.
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