The updated regulations at the Canadian border, loosening quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers, went into place on July 5, 2021. Since then, the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) announced that incoming traffic into Canada has increased by around 25%. However, despite the increase in traffic, not everyone has been allowed into Canada at the border, as approximately half of those who sought to gain entry since July 5 have been turned away. Although lines at most border crossings are not long, some busier crossings, such as the Windsor-Detroit crossing reported waits of up to 45 minutes. So if you are planning to come to Canada, make sure that you meet the requirements before you arrive at the border.
It is important to remember that Canadians who are abroad can return to Canada at any point, and if you are a Canadian Citizen or Canadian permanent resident who is fully vaccinated, you can enter Canada and avoid the requirement to quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival. The updated regulations do not change the status quo which currently only allows non-citizens into Canada for essential purposes. Tourism is designated as non-essential, and those trying to cross the border to engage in tourism will still be turned away for the time being.
However, Canada announced this week that it plans to allow fully vaccinated tourists into Canada again for non-essential reasons. Starting August 9, 2021, fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents will be permitted to enter Canada and will not be subject to a two-week quarantine upon arrival. Additionally, the government says that fully vaccinated travellers from other countries will be allowed to enter Canada as of September 7. At the border, travellers will have to present proof that they have received a complete round of one of the vaccines approved for use in Canada, which are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or Johnson & Johnson.
All travellers must use the ArriveCAN app to submit their proof of immunization. In addition to presenting the requisite documentation, travellers will still need to get a COVID-19 test before they are permitted entry. All travellers should also have a quarantine plan in the event the border official finds that they do not meet the necessary requirements to avoid quarantine.
Children under 12 are still not cleared to be vaccinated but if you are planning on travelling with young children, do not worry. The government has said that children under 12 will be exempt from the quarantine requirement upon entry to Canada and can travel with their parents.
On the other side of the border, the United States has extended its travel restrictions until at least August 21. Despite many calling for the border to open, the United States land border with Canada will be closed even while vaccinated Americans are allowed to travel into Canada. President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau vowed to work together to implement coordinated border policies in order to control COVID-19 shortly after President Biden was elected, which makes this divergence in policy between the two countries incongruous. As of now, Canadians will have to wait longer to cross into the U.S. by land for tourism purposes, but it is realistic to expect that the United States will open its border to Canada on or shortly after the August 21 date. Make sure to keep checking for updates if you are planning to travel, as the situation is still rapidly changing.
Garson Immigration Law is a firm exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing regulations in light of COVID-19. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure you are positioned for success with respect to your application.
The immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are continuing to monitor the immigration fallout in relation to COVID-19 on both sides of the border and will provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions about your potential classification as essential or about how you should comply with the changing regulations, do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by calling us at 416-321-2860.
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