Federal Government Announces Changes to COVID-19 Border Measures

The Federal Government has announced several upcoming changes to the COVID-19 border measures currently in effect.

Effective November 30, 2021, fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and individuals registered under the Indian Act returning from trips abroad of less than 72 hours will no longer be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test to enter Canada. This exemption will apply to individuals who depart and re-enter Canada by land or by air and who can demonstrate that they have been away from Canada for less than 72 hours. This exemption will also apply to accompanying children under 12 years of age and individuals with medical contraindications to vaccination. 

For trips longer than 72 hours, all travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, will continue to be required to provide proof of either:

  • negative COVID-19 molecular test results from within 72 hours of their scheduled flight or arrival at a land border crossing to enter Canada; OR
  • proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days prior.

Regardless of trip duration, all travellers will still be required to submit information to ArriveCAN, including proof of vaccination and a quarantine plan, within the 72 hours before their return to Canada.

The Federal Government has also announced that effective January 15, 2022, certain groups of travellers currently exempt from entry requirements must be fully vaccinated in order to enter Canada. These groups include:

  • individuals travelling to reunite with family (unvaccinated children under 18 years of age will retain exemption if travelling to reunite with an immediate or extended family member who is a Canadian, permanent resident, or person registered under the Indian Act);
  • international students who are 18 years old and older; 
  • professional and amateur athletes;
  • individuals with a valid work permit, including temporary foreign workers (outside of those in agriculture and food processing); and
  • essential service providers, including truck drivers.

After this date, foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated will only be permitted to enter Canada if they fall under one of the limited exceptions, including agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, individuals entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees, and certain children under the age of 18. Testing, quarantine, and other entry requirements will continue to apply to these exempt travellers.

Foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated and who do not fall under an exemption will be prohibited entry into Canada.

In addition, the Federal Government has also announced that effective November 30, 2021, Canada will add Sinopharm, Sinovac, and COVAXIN to the list of vaccinations approved for use by travellers entering Canada.

The Federal Government’s official announcement outlining these new border measures can be found here.

If you have any questions about COVID-19 related issues, or any questions relating to workplace law generally, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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