Yesterday afternoon, federal government officials announced that fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to Canada by air will no longer be subject to the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement effective early July 2021. Instead, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be required to provide a pre-departure molecular COVID-19 test as well as an arrival test and quarantine in their homes until their arrival test results come back negative. Travellers would also have to be vaccinated 14 or more days prior to their arrival and have a suitable quarantine plan.
While this measure is a good first step, we are calling on the Prime Minister and his government to adopt all of the recommendations from the COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel’s report which was released last month. This includes ending the hotel quarantine program altogether and exempting fully vaccinated travellers from all quarantine and testing requirements other than an arrival test for surveillance purposes.
The advisory panel’s full report can be accessed here, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/covid19-industry/medical-devices/testing-screening-advisory-panel/reports-summaries/priority-strategies-quarantine-borders.html.
In addition, the CSA is calling on the Canadian and U.S. Governments to formalize a plan to safely reopen the land border for fully vaccinated travellers for non-essential purposes. Policy decisions of this nature should be based in science, and there is no convincing scientific evidence that persons who meet the condition of demonstrating full vaccination, at least two weeks prior to arrival in Canada or the United States, “pose a risk of significant harm to public health” or present a “risk of introduction or spread of COVID-19.”
The land border closure, which has been in place since March 2020, continues to have a devastating financial impact on cross-border communities throughout multiple sectors. While the land border restrictions were initially implemented as a way in which to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, with increasing rates of vaccination in both countries, it is time that these restrictions are updated to reflect the progress being made and the most recent scientific data available.
The CSA will be providing members with further updates on cross-border measures as new information becomes available.