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Canada’s New COVID-19 Travel Bans, Testing Regime, and Quarantine Requirements

A few weeks ago, we collectively breathed sighs of relief as many COVID-related travel bans and restrictions, expensive testing requirements, and mandatory quarantines began to be slowly rolled back in the US and Canada. Shouldn’t we have learned, by now, not to count those chickens until they’ve hatched?

 

With the first news release on November 26, 2021 and the second just yesterday, the Government of Canada has announced additional border measures aimed at “reducing the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada,” namely – the B.1.1.529 Omicron variant classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of concern.

 

Effective December 1, 2021, foreign nationals who have been present in any of the following countries within the fourteen (14) days prior to travel, will not be permitted to enter Canada:

 

  • Botswana
  • Egypt;
  • Eswatini;
  • Lesotho;
  • Malawi;
  • Mozambique;
  • Namibia;
  • Nigeria;
  • South Africa; and
  • Zimbabwe

 

How will this impact Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those with status under the Indian Act?

 

Regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19, Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those with status under the Indian Act, who have been in any of the ten (10) countries detailed above in the previous fourteen (14) days, will be subject to enhanced pre-entry and arrival testing, screening, and quarantine measures.

Will air travel to Canada from countries other than the ten (10) detailed above be impacted?

 

Yes, all fully-vaccinated air travellers arriving from departure points other than the US will be subject to arrival testing and will be required to quarantine while they await the results of their arrival test.

 

How are unvaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those with status under the Indian Act impacted under the current and newly announced measures?

 

Unvaccinated Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those with status under the Indian Act will continue to be tested on arrival and day eight (8) and must quarantine for fourteen (14) days. Furthermore, under the new measures, those arriving by air will now be required to stay in a designated quarantine facility or other suitable location while they await the result of their on-arrival test.

 

For more information on the new measures, please see the “Quick Facts” section from the November 30, 2021 announcement. And, as always, stay tuned for the latest from the MPC immigration team as we closely monitor these restrictions and other significant changes in Canadian and US immigration.