What does the new Easing of Canadian Travel Restrictions mean to Assignees?

Canada lifts most international travel restrictions for some specific categories of travellers, who are fully vaccinated, starting July 5.

Effective July 5 at 11:59 p.m. Travellers who are currently able to enter Canada (returning  Canadians, permanent residents and those deemed essential, which has always encompassed those arriving on Work Permits) under the existing rules will be able to do so without having to self-isolate for 14 days, taking a test on day eight, or having to stay in a quarantine hotel upon arrival, if they are fully immunized against COVID-19 (by Canada’s definition – see more below). 

The change does not apply to fully vaccinated non-citizens who are looking to visit for non-essential reasons, and for any Canadian traveller who is not fully-vaccinated, the existing suite of travel restrictions will remain in effect.

Important note!

Ultimately, Canada Border Services officers are responsible for reviewing and considering each traveller’s circumstances and determining if a quarantine is required.

What Vaccine Proof is Needed?

In order to be considered fully vaccinated, travellers will have had to have received a full series of a vaccine, or a combination of vaccines that have been authorized by Health Canada — Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Johnson & Johnson — at least 14 days prior to entering the country. Since there are many more vaccines than this list of four, this will naturally eliminate a number of work permit holders from the eased restrictions, but All Points will be watching for future expansions of this list.  It is important to stress that what one country considers full vaccination may not match Canada’s requirements.

TTravellers must provide proof of vaccination in order to be exempted from the quarantine measures. First travellers will have to submit the information on the ArriveCAN app and then they will also have to bring a paper or digital copy of their vaccination documentation to produce upon their arrival.  Upon arrival, we understand that they will be asked to disclose vaccination status and the timing and brand of vaccine received.

Self-Isolation Plans should stay in place.

However, All Points still recommends a solid self-isolation plan, because even those who are vaccinated will have to submit through the app: travel and contact details; quarantine plans, and a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment. We recommend they prepare a self-isolation plan just in case CBSA officials find a reason that they should be in quarantine.

If you travel after July 5.

There will be a new version of the ArriveCAN app that is released on July 5.

What stays the same?

The requirement to be asymptomatic remains, as do the mandatory pre-departure and on-arrival molecular testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.

If a fully vaccinated traveller does test positive, they will be required to follow local public health guidance and quarantine requirements.

Children?

In situations where unvaccinated children are travelling with fully vaccinated parents, they will not have to stay in a hotel, but will have to follow the testing requirements, if applicable depending on their age, and isolate for 14 days after coming into Canada.

For more details, check out the government website.

Two classes of entrants

This will most definitely create two classes of entrants to Canada: a) those who are fully vaccinated by the big four and can prove it; b) those who are not completely vaccinated or are vaccinated by one the many vaccines that Health Canada has not recognized (i.e. Sinopharm). The latter will still have to stay in a quarantine hotel, and complete their full 14 days of self-isolation, requiring some form of grocery delivery, before they can leave their temporary accommodation. However, All Points recommendations for the former (fully vaccinated by the big four) remains unchanged:

  • Complete the ArriveCAN app before departing (if you already have the ArriveCAN app from a previous trip, download the new app as of July 5)
  • Complete a PCR test 72 hours before boarding your plane
  • Have ready your self-isolation plan
  • Now, in addition, you should have paper copies of your vaccination certificate.

How is All Points’ handling first appointments?

If someone has been vaccinated, remember they still have to take a PCR test at the airport and must be called with a negative result before they can do any activities. All Points has seen cases in which this test result is very quick, but other times when it has been 2-3 days. So, the timing of our first day of activities is unpredictable. In addition, we have mentioned previously that we have had great success in booking Social Insurance Number appointments. With these booked appointments, assignees don’t have to stand in line, which increases their safety and their efficiency. However, these booked appointments (as opposed to walk-ins) take 24-48 hours to book.  Since we a) don’t know when the PCR test comes in, and b) have to wait for the booked appointment, we will be scheduling first activities to occur 3 days after the transferee’s arrival, at a minimum.

Update on Driver’s Licensing

Driver’s licensing and on-road tests have returned to normal in most provinces, although there may be a delay in receiving your appointment.  Delays are going to be the worst in Ontario. At least now those wanting driver’s tests, can book at drive test centers outside of their own jurisdiction.

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