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Alberta Pilot Program – Quarantine Exemption Based on Rapid COVID-19 Testing
Today, the Alberta Provincial and Canadian Federal Government announced a joint pilot program in Alberta whereby certain travellers arriving at Calgary International Airport or the Coutts land port-of-entry may be exempt from the mandatory quarantine requirement based on testing negative upon arrival via the pilot program’s rapid testing for COVID-19 and if the traveller commits to specific health and testing measures.
The Alberta pilot program is a first of its kind partnership with the Government and Canada to safely explore ways to reduce quarantine requirements for travellers while still protecting Albertans from COVID-19.
Currently, under Canada’s Quarantine Act, travellers returning to Canada are legally required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival unless the traveller fits one of the following “essential service” exceptions denoted in paragraph 6(e) of the Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Mandatory Isolation), No. 3:
- Persons in the trade or transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods or people, including truck drivers and crew members on any aircraft, shipping vessel or train, and that cross the border while performing their duties or for the purpose of performing their duties;
- Persons who must cross the border regularly to go to their normal place of employment, including critical infrastructure workers (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing), provided they do not directly care for persons 65 years of age or older within the first 14 days after their entry to Canada;
- Technicians or specialists specified by a government, manufacturer, or company, who enter Canada as required for the purpose of maintaining, repairing, installing or inspecting equipment necessary to support critical infrastructure (Energy and Utilities, Information and Communication Technologies, Finance, Health, Food, Water, Transportation, Safety, Government and Manufacturing) and are required to provide their services within 14 days of their entry to Canada and have reasonable rationales for the immediacy of the work and the inability to plan for a 14 day quarantine;
- Persons, including a captain, deckhand, observer, inspector, scientist, veterinarian and any other person supporting commercial or research open water aquaculture-related activities, who enter Canada for the purpose of carrying out aquaculture-related activities, including fishing, transporting fish to and from the aquaculture facility, treating fish for pests or pathogens, repairs, provisioning of aquaculture-related vessels or aquaculture facilities or exchange of crew and who proceed directly to an open water facility or vessel upon entry to Canada;
- Emergency service providers, including firefighters, peace officers, and paramedics, who return from providing such services in another country and are required to provide their services within 14 days of their return to Canada; and
- Commercial conveyance operators repatriating human remains into Canada.
Pursuant to the announced pilot program guidelines, only the following individuals are eligible:
- returning Canadian citizens;
- permanent residents;
- foreign nationals currently permitted entry into Canada; and
- essential service workers with a travel exemption
Additional guidelines and testing details are expected to be released by early November. Stay tuned to the Moodys Tax Blog for the latest.