The federal government of Canada has confirmed that they are extending the travel restrictions on non-essential travel from the United States and around the world until July 21.
Canadian minister of public safety- Bill Blair stated in a tweet, “As we said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others currently authorized to enter Canada and will provide more details on Monday, June 21.”
All eyes are on the Canadian border as current travel restrictions are due to expire on Monday, June 21. The question is whether they will be extended again?
There has been a lot of talk and clues have leaked to the media, but officials have so far been quiet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested the border will be reopened in phases. Trudeau maintained that Canada would not start easing restrictions until 75% of Canadians were vaccinated. About 60 percent of the total population in Canada has received at least one dose, and 8 percent are fully immunized.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu also said the government could start reducing mandatory quarantine as early as the first week of July. Newcomers to Canada could potentially be released from quarantine as soon as their COVID-19 test is negative. As it is, travelers arriving by plane must stay in a hotel at their own expense. Once they receive a negative test result, they must complete the remainder of the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement at their final destination.
These measures will be implemented for Canadian permanent residents and citizens who got their vaccination from one of the recognized Canadian vaccines - AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. Vaccination documents are uploaded to the Arrive CAN app.
No official protocol has been published for child travelers who are not of age to be vaccinated. At a press conference, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam suggested there may be different rules for people traveling with minors.
Re-opening of Canada-U.S Border
Pressure to reopen the Canada-U.S. The border has been strong on both sides, but Trudeau sided with science in the face of public outcry. Politicians and business leaders in Canada and the United States have pressured country leaders to reopen the border and revive the economy of sectors hard hit since the March 2020 shutdown.
June 22 is unlikely to mark the beginning of the end of restrictions on the Canada-U.S. Border, as officials hinted earlier this month. International Affairs Minister Dominic Leblanc told reporters the reopening could start in July. He also said there may be dates released with the new order that will indicate what the reopening phases will look like.
Things we have no idea about
A gradual reopening of borders could take several forms. It could be phased in terms of geography, such as tighter restrictions on entry into areas of Canada with a high number of cases. Additionally, as we have seen with the current flight ban in India and Pakistan, the government may choose to take action to slow travel between certain countries. The government is currently monitoring the progress of the delta variant, which may become a factor in travel decisions.
There may also be differences in how the government handles the reopening of travel between Canada and the United States, and Canada and the rest of the world. The restrictions are already divided this way, with one order relating to American travelers and the other to travelers from all other foreign countries. There are few differences, due to the significant trade and political relationship between Canada and the United States. Some of these differences, however, affect travelers.
To take an example, all the approved permanent residents who got their CoPR after March 18, 2020, are not allowed to enter Canada to complete their immigration process, unless they are from the United States. To come to Canada and activate their documents from any other country, they must fall under another exemption. This has caused thousands of people to find themselves in immigration limbo throughout the pandemic, waiting with only the promise that they will eventually be able to come to Canada. This brings us to the other thing we don't know: How will the phased approach affect people by immigration status?
There is also a hint on quarantine requirements to be relaxed for exempted travelers which include the Canadian citizens and permanent residents with immigrants who have been vaccinated by one of federal government approved vaccines. These hints give us an idea of the government’s strategies for a phased approach that is based on traveler’s vaccination history and their reason to move to Canada.
Travel restrictions may continue for the immigrants depending on their reason for moving to Canada. The government has changed the settings for essential travelers in the past. Notably, in the fall of 2020, when more international students and their family members became free of restrictions.
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