Canadian travel restrictions relax in March 2022

Updated: Mar 02, 2022 | Tags: Canada Travel Restrictions, COVID-19

Restrictions on travel by land and air have been a vital part of Canada's strategy to reduce the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic. But that strategy has not come without cost: reduced travel has had a major impact on Canada's tourism and hospitality industries and made it harder for the nation to reach its immigration targets. As case numbers decline and other nations around the world relax their restrictions, Canada is beginning to follow suit. Beginning on February 28, new travel rules relating to Covid-19 will come into effect.

Rapid antigen tests now permitted

One of the most significant changes to the coronavirus travel regulations is the possibility for travellers to Canada to take a rapid antigen test before entering the country. Prior to this new rule, people travelling to Canada had to take a molecular covid test such as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours of entering the country. This rule has now been broadened to include antigen tests taken within 24 hours of travel.

Although antigen tests are commonly used for home testing, most home tests do not qualify for this new rule. Travellers must have their antigen test administered in a lab or healthcare facility. Alternatively, a test taken as part of a telehealth service can qualify.

Upon arrival, travellers will be randomly selected for covid tests, which may happen on-site. Alternatively, travellers may receive home test kits to complete within 24 hours.

Quarantine requirements reduced

In addition to a wider range of possible tests, the new regulations reduce the number of people required to quarantine after arrival in Canada. Fully-vaccinated travellers are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period as long as they can prove their vaccination status, have no symptoms, have submitted all their information to ArriveCAN and can show a qualifying negative test result. However, even travellers who meet all these requirements need to be able to show a quarantine plan in case they don't receive an exemption.

Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated travellers over the age of 12 must still quarantine for 14 days, taking a Covid-19 test on the eighth day.

Travellers who have recovered from Covid

Some individuals who recover from Covid continue to test positive. The new rules permit these travellers to enter Canada under some circumstances. To demonstrate that the window of infection is over, these travellers are required to provide evidence of a positive PCR test more than ten days but less than six months old.

ArriveCAN information

During the pandemic, the government has been using ArriveCAN to track travellers' vaccination status and other relevant information. This requirement will continue as other regulations relax. Anyone wishing to travel by Canada must submit information on their vaccination status and quarantine plan using the ArriveCAN app.

As vaccination levels rise and case numbers related to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 decline, Canada is adapting to the new environment. However, although the requirements of the new system are easier to meet, they still require preparation. Anyone intending to travel to Canada should check to make sure they can meet the vaccination, testing and quarantine planning requirements.

Canadian immigration responds to Ukraine crisis

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has prompted hundreds of thousands of both Ukrainians and foreign nationals in Ukraine to leave the country, looking for safety in neighbouring nations or with loved ones. In response to the crisis, Canada's government has announced a number of related measures.

These measures include prioritising processing for new travel documents for Canadians in Ukraine. Additionally, applications by citizens and permanent residents to sponsor spouses, partners or dependent children from Ukraine to come to Canada will be given high priority. Ukrainian nationals already in Canada will benefit from the extension of a policy that allows them to apply for a work permit from inside Canada. If they receive a job offer, these Ukrainian nationals will be able to start working and remain in Canada while their permit application is processed, preventing them from possibly having to return to an unsafe area.

Like the covid-19 pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine is constantly developing. Ukrainian nationals in Canada, Canadians in Ukraine and Canadians attempting to sponsor Ukrainian loved ones should remain alert for new programs and policies as the government reacts to the situation in Ukraine.