Canadian travel vaccine rules as of November 30
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TORONTO – As of November 30, the transition period allowing a negative COVID-19 test for those who wish to travel by plane, train or boat to Canada will end, meaning all travelers must be fully immunized before boarding and provide proof thereof.
The travel rules, which were announced by the federal government in early October, officially came into effect on October 30. However, there has been a one-month transition period that has allowed those not fully vaccinated to travel if they can show a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of travel.
As of Tuesday at 3:01 a.m. EST, a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be accepted as an alternative to vaccination.
This means that if you cannot prove that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board. Travel Canada says there will be “very limited exemptions” from this rule, such as medical inability to get vaccinated.
Other rules implemented earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic for travelers, including mandatory masks, health check issues and negative test requirements for international travelers, remain in place.
As airlines selected travelers departing from a Canadian airport on a random basis – in accordance with Transport Canada guidelines – to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination during the transition period, Air Canada and WestJet told CTVNews.ca that they will have a system in place as of Nov. 30 for customers to submit proof of vaccination online before arriving at the airport.
RULES FOLLOWING THE TRANSITION PERIOD
According to the Government of Canada, anyone aged 12 plus four months or older will need to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To board, all travelers must have received their second dose at least 14 days prior to their departure date.
The rules apply to anyone traveling by air on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from Canadian airports, as well as rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.
“If you are not able to provide proof of vaccination or a valid COVID-19 test result, you will not be allowed to travel. If you tell your airline or rail that you’re eligible for boarding, but don’t provide proof, you could also face penalties or fines, ”Transport Canada said in an online notice.
If a child has just turned 12, there is a four month exemption period following their 12th birthday during which they will not have to be vaccinated. Travel Canada noted that this gives the children time to receive both injections of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Transport Canada told CTVNews.ca that children under 12 years and four months of age are not required to be vaccinated or provide a valid COVID-19 test result to travel within Canada or to leave the Canada. However, international destinations may have different requirements.
“Any adjustment to travel measures will continue to be examined, on the basis of scientific evidence, public health advice and the evolution of the epidemiological situation, as has been the case since the start of the pandemic”, Transport Canada said in an email Nov. 24.
PROOF OF VACCINATION
While most provinces and territories issue and use Canadian proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Alberta and New Brunswick currently have their own provincial travel-acceptable vaccination certificate form.
The federal government says Canadians should be prepared at all times during their trip to show proof of vaccination.
If you plan to show your proof of vaccination on your phone, the government recommends travelers take a back-up hard copy in case of “difficulties”, such as the device having a dead battery.
The government notes that Canadian proof of COVID-19 vaccination does not guarantee entry into another country, and says travelers should check for any restrictions at their final destination before traveling abroad.
For those who do not have Canadian documents, their proof of vaccination should include the following information:
full name of the person who received the vaccine;
the name of the government or organization that issued the proof or administered the vaccine;
the brand name or manufacturer of the vaccine or vaccine mixture accepted
the date you received your second dose or your first dose of Janssen / Johnson & Johnson
If your proof of vaccination is not in English or French, you will need a certified translation into either of these languages.
WHAT VACCINES ARE ACCEPTED?
People aged 12 and over will need to provide proof that they have received two doses of a series of COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada or a mixture of two accepted vaccines.
The rules specify, however, that you must have received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before your departure date.
Currently, travelers will be allowed to board if they have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty), Moderna vaccine (Spikevax) or AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxzevria).
Canadians are also allowed to travel if they have received at least one dose of the Janssen / Johnson and Johnson vaccine, provided they have received the vaccine 14 days prior to their travel date.
The federal government announced earlier this month that travelers who have received the Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated for travel purposes by November 30, corresponding to the COVID-19 vaccines. approved for use by the World Health Organization.
RE-ENTRY TEST REQUIREMENTS
As of November 30, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after short trips in the United States and abroad will no longer have to provide proof of a negative molecular test, such as a PCR test.
The federal government announced on November 19 that it would lift the molecular testing requirement for travelers who have received a full set of COVID-19 vaccines upon their return to Canada after less than 72 hours.
However, a molecular test is still required for readmission of those making overseas trips of more than 72 hours.
The proof of vaccination rules also apply to travelers who wish to board a cruise ship in Canada, once those trips resume.
Transport Canada says anyone boarding a cruise ship or other passenger ship whose journey will last longer than 24 hours will need to show proof of vaccination.
While the federal government has lifted the global advisory asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside the country, it continues to advise against travel on cruise ships.
COMMUNITY EXEMPTION PER FLIGHT
People living in communities accessible by air will be exempt from the vaccine travel requirement for certain domestic trips.
Under the new government rules, passengers in small or remote communities who are not vaccinated will still be able to obtain essential services for their medical, health or social well-being, and return home safely.
With files from Hannah Jackson of CTVNews.ca
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