Canada is effectively reopening its border on July 5 — so long as the travellers are fully vaccinated.
The Canada Border Service Agency suspended travel to Canada by foreign nationals on March 21, 2020. As the pandemic continued, the border closure extended every month until June 2021, with exceptions for essential travel. At the end of June, the CBSA extended the travel ban to Canada till July 27 — except for those travellers who can provide proof of vaccination.
Effective July 5, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals can enter Canada by air and by land. They will not be required to quarantine for 14 days if they are fully vaccinated and meet all the other eligibility criteria.
All restrictions for those who are not fully vaccinated remain the same.
All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must follow the testing and quarantine requirements such as the three night hotel stay at government approved hotels.
“I would also like to emphasize that providing false information, including fraudulent tests or proof of vaccinations, to a Government of Canada official is a serious offense and may result in penalties and criminal charges,” said Patty Hadju, Minister of Heath and Member of Parliament in an email interview with The Press.
Travelers need to send their proof of two doses of COVID vaccination using the Arrive CAN app prior to their travel. Failure to upload information through the Arrive CAN app or duplicate vaccination and test result proof can result in a fine up to $1,000,000 and imprisonment of up to three years.
Children under 12 who are travelling to Canada with their parents must go through the 14 days of quarantine at their homes, as the COVID-19 vaccines are not authorized for that age group.
“To protect Canadians from contact with an imported case of COVID children under 12 do have to quarantine for the full 14 days,” stressed Hadju.
The vaccination requirement will make travel easier for returning Canadians.
Harjit Gill, a Canadian citizen with family in India, returned to Calgary two weeks ago. He went to India in February 2021 with his family to attend his brother’s wedding. As COVID-19 cases rose, the family was stuck in India for five months due to the border closure.
He is fully vaccinated, as is his family.
“I had to return to Canada via Mexico because there were no other options that I could choose. My whole family, including my wife, two little daughters and brother are still stuck in India. We could not return to Canada due to flight suspension from India and we suffered a lot,” Gill said.
“I had to spent a huge amount for tickets because I had to return Canada via indirect route. I had gone through a COVID test prior to my departure, I went through arrival test, paid, in Mexico where I also did two-nights quarantine at hotel on my own expense, then I travelled to Toronto where again I went through a COVID test and spent one night at hotel awaiting my test result.”
“My travel from India to Canada costs me approximately $4,300 which includes ticket booking. hotel expense and paid Covid test in Mexico,” said Gill.
Gill believes the Government of Canada needs to install approved labs for COVID testing in designated locations within countries with suspended travel just to make sure it gets accurate COVID testing and accurate vaccination documentation.
“Government of Canada does not believe in the vaccination passport approved in India because of many cases of fake vaccination and fake vaccination passport found at New Mumbai, India where 352 staffers got fake jabs on vaccination passport,” explained Gill.
The Calgary Airport Authority notes on its website that the antigen test will not be accepted at the time of arrival. International travelers must show a proof of a molecular test and digital or physical copy of vaccination proof at the time of arrival. Commuters also must register for an arrival test at the airport five days prior to the arrival.
An arrival curb with illuminated signage and new pick-up locations has been installed to improve controlling traffic at the airport, according to the Calgary Airport Authority’s website.
“I usually work at the international arrival doors and also take care about the passenger pickup just to make sure nobody stays too long,” said Bernard Yip, a Safety Ambassador at the Calgary Airport.
“As the pandemic continued or two months ago, there were like only 20 people on a flight and as of now all the restrictions lifted for fully vaccinated, we are expecting lots of international flights,” he said.
To protect Canadians from contact with an imported case of COVID children under 12 do have to quarantine for the full 14 days. – Patty Hadju
“It seems hard to control the social distancing at the airport but we still require from the travellers and visitor to have mask on while inside the airport.”
The Government of Canada has made it clear that the final decision regarding the exemption for quarantine will be made at the time of arrival for fully vaccinated individuals after verifying the documents of vaccination status. Fully vaccinated status means the individuals must be vaccinated with the second dose 14 days prior to their departure.
The type of vaccines must be approved by the Government of Canada. These are Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD and Janssen.