Since August 9th, 2021, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents have been permitted to enter Canada for reasons related to non-essential travel, without needed to observe mandatory quarantine protocols.
Further, since this time, international flights carrying passengers have also been permitted to land at the following five additional Canadian airports:
- Halifax Stanfield International Airport;
- Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport;
- Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport;
- Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and
- Edmonton International Airport.
This policy change is the first step of a broader decision by the Canadian government to re-open borders to all eligible fully vaccinated travellers on September 7th, 2021, should the current COVID-19 situation remain favourable.
In light of the recent changes, we will provide an overview of the new measures, including a discussion of who is eligible to benefit from the relaxed restrictions. This is relevant to individuals travelling for discretionary purposes, as well as temporary foreign workers and business visitors.
Please note that the requirements referenced in this blog were in force at the time this blog was published.
Who Will Benefit?
At this time, American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, can enter Canada by air and land for discretionary reasons.
The traveller’s vaccination status will determine whether they are eligible for an exemption from the mandatory two (2) week quarantine period.
In particular, a traveller is considered to be fully vaccinated if they have received the full series of a vaccination (or a combination of vaccinations) as recognized by the Government of Canada (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)) at least 14 days prior to entry.
Travellers who have been fully vaccinated will not be subject to the following requirements upon entry to Canada:
- Observation of a 14-day quarantine period;
- Observation of a three (3) night stay (subject to extension) at a government-authorized hotel; and
- Completion of a Day-8 COVID-19 test kit.
Accordingly, travellers entering Canada who are not fully vaccinated must continue to adhere to the current testing and quarantine requirements as there are no exceptions for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers at this time.
How to Take Advantage of the New Measures
To take advantage of the exemption from the 14-day quarantine period, travellers are required to meet all other mandatory entry requirements to Canada, including the following:
- Be asymptomatic;
- Complete COVID-19 tests, including pre-arrival and on-arrival to Canada;
- Provide proof of vaccination, including copies of vaccination documentation;
- Submit COVID-19-related information electronically through the ArriveCAN app within 72 hours prior to arrival in Canada; and
- Prepare and present a suitable quarantine plan in the event the reviewing immigration officer determines at the border that the traveller does not meet all of the conditions required to be exempt from quarantine.
Please note that if a traveller is fully vaccinated, but fails to provide the required information in the ArriveCAN app prior to arriving at the Canadian border, the traveller will not be considered for the exemption, even if they meet all the other requirements.
In the event that an immigration officer determines that an individual entering Canada is not eligible for the exemption from the quarantine requirement, employment law protections exist that may protect workers who are subject to restrictions relating to COVID-19, including temporary foreign workers.
For example, there are federal and provincial laws that provide workers in Canada with the right to maintain their employment during the quarantine period. Accordingly, where an employer refuses to permit an employee to return to the workplace following the quarantine period, the employee, including a temporary foreign worker, may have grounds to bring an employment standards complaint forward and/or a claim for wrongful dismissal.
If you are travelling to Canada and have any questions, including whether you are exempt from the quarantine period upon entry to Canada, or your return to the workplace, please contact Toronto employment and workplace immigration lawyers Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or here.
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