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The Public Health Agency of Canada has recently announced that as of 11:59 pm on July 5th, 2021, Canada will be easing its mandatory two-week quarantine restrictions on non-essential travel.

In light of the policy change, we review the new measures, including discussing who is eligible to benefit from the relaxed restrictions. This is relevant not just to Canadians and permanent residents, but also to foreign workers and employees across Canada.

Please note that the requirements referenced in this blog were in force at the time this blog was published.

Who Will Benefit?

A traveller’s vaccination status will determine whether he/she is eligible for an exemption from the mandatory two-week quarantine period.

In particular, a traveller is considered to be fully vaccinated if he/she has received the full series of 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 entering Canada.

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-night stay (subject to extension) at a government-authorized hotel; and
  • Completion of 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 he/she meets all the other requirements.

Employment Protections

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 lawyers Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or here.

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