COVID-19 in Canada: Fully vaccinated Canadians exempt from travel quarantine rules as of July 5

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TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2021 -- A traveller wearing a face mask walks with his luggage cart to a COVID-19 testing site after arriving at the arrival hall at Toronto International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 1, 2021. Canada's Ontario required all international arriving passengers to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival starting on Monday to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Zou Zheng via Getty Images)

Beginning on July 5, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents who are travelling will not be subject to federal quarantine requirements when returning to Canada.

Fully vaccinated travellers will not be required to take a COVID-19 test on Day 8 or stay at a government-authorized hotel, but all travellers, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to take pre-departure and arrival COVID-19 tests.

"We are continuing these testing requirements to allow public health experts to continue to monitor positivity rates at the border and monitor for variants of concern," Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, said at a press conference on Monday.

A traveller is considered fully vaccinated when they have received the full series of the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines 14 days prior to entering Canada.

Proof of vaccination must be submitted through the ArriveCAN app before arriving in Canada. Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada, said the app is capable of receiving and verifying documentation from different jurisdictions.

He added that travellers should retain a copy of their vaccination documents for verification by border service officers, which must be carried with them for 14 day after their arrival into Canada.

Anyone who submits a false vaccination could face a fine of up to $750,000 or six months imprisonment under the Quarantine Act, or prosecution under the Criminal Code for forgery.

Children under the age of 12 who are not vaccinated will have to quarantine at home for 14 days.

"At this time, the research and science obviously indicates that children can get sick with COVID-19 and they can transmit COVID-19, and because vaccines are not authorized for use in children under 12, unfortunately, most children will not be vaccinated," Hajdu said.

"This is with the lens of ensuring that any vaccinated traveller that potentially is infected with COVID-19 is taking the appropriate public health measure to protect the community in which they arrive."

Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, added that pre-departure temperature screening will be eliminated for all international travellers coming to Canada. He said this change is being made so airlines can focus on ensuring that travellers provide the necessary health and vaccination screening information prior to departure.

He revealed that the federal government is working with the airline industry to create two separate lines at airports for travellers who are vaccinated and those who are not fully vaccinated, in an effort to get travellers out of the airport faster.

India flight ban, travel restrictions for foreign nationals still in place

The transport minister also announced that Canada is renewing the flight ban for direct flights from India to Canada for another 30 days, until July 21. The ban on flights from Pakistan was not renewed. 

Blair confirmed that travel restrictions for foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, will remain in place until at least July 21.

"Foreign nationals coming to Canada for non-essential purposes will be turned away at our borders," Blair said.

"We recognize that people an anxiously awaiting to reopen the border and as Canada reaches high levels of vaccination coverage and the COVID-19 severity trends continue to decline, the risks associated with international travel will decrease."

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