Effective July 5, Canada will finally start easing travel restrictions after almost 16 months, but only for certain categories like fully-vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents, international students with a valid Canadian study permit, among others.
This new criteria will come into effect on July 5 at 12.01 am (Canada time).
Those who are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 with an approved vaccine will now be able to skip the 14-day quarantine period. Eligible air travellers will also be exempt from the requirement who have spent the first three days in Canada at a government-approved hotel.
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The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), however, has said that would-be travellers will still be restricted from entering Canada if they were not allowed to travel to the country before July 5.
Restrictions will remain in place for travellers who are not fully-vaccinated or vaccinated with a vaccine not authorised in Canada. They will have to complete a three-day quarantine at a hotel until they receive their test results, and submit to a second test on the eighth day of their arrival and complete the 14-day quarantine period.
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada has said that only vaccines approved by the Canadian government will be accepted.
So far, Health Canada has approved the Moderna, Astra Zeneca/Covishield, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. While Covishield is accepted, neither Covaxin nor Sputnik V are, as per the latest update by Global Affairs Canadas Travel Section.
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Covaxin is yet to receive emergency use authorization although the Pennsylvania-based American firm Ocugen has joined hands with Bharat Biotech to make the vaccine available in North America.
Travellers have also been asked to use the ArriveCAN app or web portal before departure to put in their vaccination information along with results of their COVID-19 test taken three days before boarding the flight.
Any travellers who have arrived in Canada before July 5 will still be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, said the agency.
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Denis Vinette, CBSA vice-president, said that if anyone was unable to come to Canada on or before July 4, 2021, they would not be able to come on July 5 as there has been no change to all of the travel restrictions. However, for those who have been allowed to enter now, it is a cautious and an early step in removing some restrictions at the border.
As direct flights from India continue to remain prohibited until July 21, travellers taking a connecting flight to Canada will have to show a negative COVID-19 test result at the final point of departure.
Those benefiting from these new relaxations include permanent residents, citizens, their extended and immediate family members, international students with a valid Canadian study permit at a DLI (designated learning institution) with a Covid-19 readiness plan, according to the CBSA.
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