From July 6 onwards, fully-vaccinated Canadians will be able to enter Canada without going through hotel quarantine or 14-day home quarantine, the federal government announced today.
Here's what you need to know:
- This new set of rules applies only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, all restrictions on foreign nationals remain in place until at least July 21st, and indications from the relevant federal officials suggest that this won't change until at least 75% of Canadians are fully-vaccinated, which at current rates should take until mid-to-late August.
- In this case, "fully-vaccinated" means anyone who has received their final dose of a COVID vaccine approved in Canada - that's Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson - at least 14 days prior to crossing the border into Canada.
- If you've had a different vaccine, like Covaxin, Novavax, Sinopharm or Sputnik, at least for the moment Canada does not recognize you as vaccinated, but be careful to note that the approved AstraZeneca vaccine has several brand names throughout the world, including 'Oxford-AstraZeneca' in the UK, 'CoviShield' in India, and 'VaxZevria' in parts of Europe. As well, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is labelled as "Janssen" in some countries. Check carefully which vaccine you've received, before you make your travel plans.
- You'll need to submit proof of vaccination through the government's ArriveCAN app before arrival. Instructions for uploading vaccine documentation into the app will be published in the next few weeks, and government officials have suggested that a 'vaccine passport' scheme between Canada, the US and Europe (and possibly other nations) is currently in development.
- You'll still need to show proof of a negative PCR COVID test taken before your flight to Canada, and you'll still be tested on arrival, but if you're fully-vaccinated, you'll simply quarantine at home until you get the results of your arrival test, which as I write this is usually less than 24 hours after arrival. You will no longer need to be tested again 8 days after arrival.
- Children who aren't vaccinated will be able to go home with their parents, but will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days.
- If you're not fully vaccinated, the full hotel-quarantine requirement still applies.
This is an important step towards the reopening of international travel, and indicates pretty strongly that Canada will have different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers for the foreseeable future.