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New measures for entry into Canada

The Government of Canada has recently implemented enhanced guidelines for travellers entering Canada. The measures could potentially impact business operations, as they pertain to certain classes of travellers being banned from entry into Canada and mandatory quarantine for individuals arriving from all countries except for the United States. This article summarizes the existing measures and those to come as of Jan. 15, 2022.

Current travel guidelines

Fully vaccinated individuals who have traveled outside of Canada or the United States, within 14 days of their entry into Canada, can be randomly selected for arrival testing and quarantine in a suitable place until receipt of a negative result of the said test. At this time the testing is upon selection, but the Government of Canada intends to test 100 per cent of travelers shortly.

Regardless of vaccination status, foreign nationals who have been in one of the 10 following southern African countries in the 14 days prior to arriving in Canada will be denied entry to Canada: Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe. As for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and people with status under the Indian Act, travelling back from the said countries, have the right to enter but need to undergo arrival testing, screening and quarantine measures.

Vaccination is required for travel within and out of Canada. A COVID-19 molecular test is no longer accepted as an alternative to vaccination unless travellers are eligible for one of the limited exemptions, such as a medical inability to be vaccinated.

These new measures have been in place since Nov. 30, 2021, and are in addition to the restrictions requiring that travellers undergo and obtain a molecular COVID test within 72 hours prior to entry into Canada, along with using the ArriveCAN app within the same timeframe. It should be noted that exception to the pre-entry molecular test is now available to fully vaccinated Canadians who depart and re-enter the country within 72 hours.

Updated travel guidelines as of Jan. 15, 2022

Only fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be authorized to enter Canada. There will be very few exceptions to this rule, and these include the following:

  • Agriculture and food processing workers
  • Marine crew members
  • New permanent residents
  • Children under 18 years travelling to reunite with a family member who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered under the Indian Act
  • Those entering Canada on compassionate grounds
  • Resettling refugees

Consequently, the following will no longer be eligible to enter Canada if unvaccinated:

  • Individuals with a valid work permit
  • International students
  • People travelling to reunite with family
  • Essential service providers
  • Truck drivers
  • Professional and amateur athletes

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that travel restrictions are always in flux. To verify if you can enter Canada, please visit the Government of Canada website.

For help interpreting these new rules in the context of your business, particularly their application to yourself, your employees or business partners and potential impact on your supply chain, contact Brian Dingle or Valérie Marcas of BLG’s Business Immigration group. Our business relocation and global mobility service solves global talent challenges in a strategic and integrated way.

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