Ottawa – COVID-19 Update – “Health and safety will always remain at the forefront of any decision our government makes in the fight against COVID-19. The upcoming changes to Canada’s border testing and entry requirements reflect the next stage in our government’s approach as we align with the improving vaccination rates both here in Canada and around the world. The situation at our borders remains closely monitored, with officials and experts continuing their work to evaluate the measures in place and recommend necessary adjustments as required,” say Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health.
COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements, as well as other border measures, are an important part of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and serve to protect the health and safety of all Canadians. With vaccination rates increasing around the world, and an evolving epidemiological situation, it is important that Canada’s border measures reflect the current global context.
The Government of Canada has announced upcoming adjustments to Canada’s border measures.
Effective November 30, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals with right of entry to Canada who depart and re-enter the country within 72 hours of leaving Canada will not have to present a pre-entry molecular test. This exemption is only for trips originating in Canada taken by fully vaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents or individuals registered under the Indian Act, who depart and re-enter by land or by air and can demonstrate that they have been away from Canada for less than 72 hours. This exemption extends to accompanying children under 12, and individuals with medical contraindications to vaccination. Also effective November 30, 2021, Canada will expand the list of COVID-19 vaccines that travellers can receive to be considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of travel to Canada. The list will include Sinopharm, Sinovac and COVAXIN, matching the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing.
The Government of Canada is also announcing that as of January 15, 2022, certain groups of travellers, who are currently exempt from entry requirements, will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved for entry into 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 January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for limited exceptions, which apply to certain groups such as agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, those entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees and some children under the age of 18. Exempt unvaccinated travellers will continue to be subject to testing, quarantine, and other entry requirements. Non-exempt unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will be prohibited entry into Canada.
Starting November 30, vaccination will be required for travel within and out of Canada. A valid
COVID-19 molecular test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to vaccination unless travellers are eligible for one of the limited exemptions, such as a medical inability to be vaccinated. Travellers should contact their airline or railway company to obtain the necessary form and submit it in accordance with their carrier’s approval process as of November 30.
The Government of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to prioritize the health and safety of Canadians. As vaccination levels, case counts and hospitalization rates evolve, the Government of Canada will continue to consider further targeted measures at the borders—and when to lift or adjust them—to keep Canadians safe.