As of Nov. 30, the transition period allowing for a negative COVID-19 test from those looking to travel by plane, train or ship in Canada will end, meaning all travellers must be fully vaccinated before boarding and provide proof of that.
The travel rules, which were announced by the federal government at the beginning of October, officially came into effect Oct. 30. However, there was a month-long transition period that allowed those who don’t qualify as fully vaccinated to travel if they can show a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of travel.
Starting Tuesday at 3:01 a.m. EDT, 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” to this rule, such as medical inability to be vaccinated.
Other rules implemented earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic for travellers, including mandatory masks, health check questions, and negative test requirements for international travellers, remain in place.
While airlines were selecting travellers departing from a Canadian airport on a random basis — as per Transport Canada guidelines — to show evidence of COVID-19 vaccination during the transition period, both Air Canada and WestJet have told CTVNews.ca that they will have a system in place as of Nov. 30 for customers to submit their proof of vaccination online ahead of arrival at an airport.
RULES FOLLOWING TRANSITION PERIOD
According to the Government of Canada, anyone who is 12 years of age plus four months or older will need to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In order to board, all travellers must have received their second dose at least 14 days before their departure date.
The rules apply to anyone who is travelling by plane on domestic, transborder or international flights departing from Canadian airports, and rail passengers on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains.
“If you’re unable to provide proof of vaccination or a valid COVID-19 test result, you will not be allowed to travel. If you indicate to your airline or railway that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof, you could also face penalties or fines,” Transport Canada said in a notice online.
If a child has just turned 12, there is a four-month exemption period following their 12th birthday in which they will not be required to be vaccinated. Travel Canada noted that this gives children the time to receive both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Transport Canada told CTVNews.ca that children under 12 years and four months are not required to be vaccinated or provide a valid COVID-19 test result for travel within Canada or to depart Canada. However, international destinations may have different requirements.
“Any adjustments to travel measures will continue to be examined, based on scientific evidence, public health advice, and the evolving epidemiological situation, as has been the case since the onset of the pandemic,” Transport Canada said in email on Nov. 24.
PROOF OF VACCINATION
While most provinces and territories issue and use the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination, Alberta currently has its own, provincial form of a vaccine certificate acceptable for travel.
The federal government says Canadians should be ready at any point in their journey to show their proof of vaccination.
If you plan to show your proof of vaccination on your phone, the government recommends travellers carry a back up, paper copy in case of “difficulties,” such as the device having a dead battery.
The government notes that the Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination does not guarantee entry into another country, and says travellers should check if there are any restrictions at their final destination before travelling abroad.
For those who do not have Canadian documents, their proof of vaccination must 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 of the mix of accepted vaccines
- 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 in either of these languages.
WHICH VACCINES ARE ACCEPTED?
Those aged 12 and up will have to provide proof that they have received both doses of a Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine series or a mix of two accepted vaccines.
The rules specify, though, that you must have received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to your departure date.
Currently, travellers will be permitted to board if they have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty), the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine or the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine.
Canadians are also permitted to travel if they have received at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as long as they received the shot 14 days before their travel date.
The federal government announced earlier this month that travellers who have received the Sinopharm, Sinovac and Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines will be considered fully vaccinated for travel purposes by Nov. 30, matching the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization.
RE-ENTRY TEST REQUIREMENTS
As of Nov. 30, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning home after short trips to 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 Nov. 19 that it would be lifting the molecular test requirement for travellers who have received a complete COVID-19 vaccine series when returning to Canada after less than 72 hours.
However, a molecular test is still required for re-entry of those taking trips abroad lasting more than 72 hours.
The proof of vaccination rules also apply to travellers looking to board a cruise ship in Canada, once those trips resume.
Transport Canada says anyone boarding a cruise ship or other passenger vessel where the trip will last more 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 is continuing to advise against travel on cruise ships.
FLY-IN COMMUNITY EXEMPTION
Those living in fly-in communities will be exempt from the vaccine travel requirement for certain domestic trips.
According to the government’s new rules, passengers from small or remote communities who are unvaccinated will still be able to obtain essential services for their medical, health or social well-being, and return safely to their homes.
With files from CTVNews.ca’s Hannah Jackson
Kamloops ranch that refused vaccinated guest but kept their deposit now says they'll issue $3.2K refund – CBC.ca
A ranch owner in Kamloops, B.C., has been criticized by the province’s solicitor general for refusing to accept a vaccinated international traveller.
The Equinisity Ranch in Kamloops, in the province’s central Interior, is run by owner Liz Mitten Ryan. She told CBC News she catered almost exclusively to international travellers, including from England, Switzerland and Australia.
In a report in The Guardian, published Thursday, a prospective traveller called J.W. York said they had booked a $3,200 retreat (£2,000) with Ryan in May 2020, but the trip was put off due to lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions.
According to York, they were told recently they were not welcome at Equinisity anymore because they were fully vaccinated against COVID — and they would not be receiving a refund due to ranch policy.
Ryan confirmed that the ranch had a “no vax” policy for patrons, even though international travellers have to be fully vaccinated to enter Canada. The Guardian article quoted her as saying that vaccines were a “bioweapon depopulation tool” that could transfer to animals.
The entire episode was called “outrageous” by B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
“I have asked my ministry, the consumer protection branch, to look into this,” he told CBC News.
“This is just wrong. Like, you want to subscribe to a wack job conspiracy theory. That’s your business. But you don’t rip people off like this. It’s unethical.”
Refunds will happen, says owner’s husband
In a statement, Kevin Ryan — Liz Ryan’s husband — said the ranch would eventually send refunds to customers.
“For personal reasons for this summer, [Liz] has implemented a policy of non-vaccinated guests only,” the statement read. “Not, I stress, realizing any regulations were being broken.
“Due to the current public interest in this situation, and the subsequent informed discussions, she now realizes that it is appropriate the deposit, in this case, needs to be returned to comply with said regulation.”
Ryan told CBC News all deposits “of a similar status” would be returned by the end of the month.
On its website, Equinisity says it provides “a unique journey” for patrons to find “true healing” through meditation, horse riding and other activities. Ryan says his wife had been running the establishment for over 15 years.
Their pricing guide shows that individual patrons can expect to pay $2,800 for an eight-day retreat, while couples can expect to pay $2,400 each.
Before her husband’s statement about refunds, Liz Ryan had suggested that any vaccinated traveller sell their booking. She also said her ranch had been shut down for two years, the longest such span of her career, due to border restrictions.
Farnworth told CBC News that Equinisity’s stance against vaccinated travellers would give international travellers a bad impression of the province.
“It sends a terrible message in terms of tourism here in British Columbia and Canada,” he said. “Because, let’s face it, this person that took this trip is now going to tell their friend … ‘Why would you want to come here?'”
Farnworth said his staff would be investigating if the ranch had received any COVID relief funding, and that the ranch would not be eligible in any case, given the requirements placed on vaccinated travellers.
“I don’t think it’s particularly good business practice,” he said.
How Canada’s new NOC will affect Express Entry eligibility – Canada Immigration News
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) currently uses NOC 2016 to determine the eligibility of occupations under its temporary and permanent residency programs. However, IRCC must switch to NOC 2021 starting in November as per Canadian law.
The NOC is managed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Statistics Canada, which revise the system every 10 years. NOC 2021 will introduce new terminology and a revised classification structure that will affect IRCC programs.
As a result of these changes, the following 16 occupations will become eligible under Express Entry:
- Payroll administrators;
- Dental assistants and dental laboratory assistants;
- Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates;
- Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants;
- Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants;
- Sheriffs and bailiffs;
- Correctional service officers;
- By-law enforcement and other regulatory officers;
- Estheticians, electrologists and related occupations;
- Residential and commercial installers and servicers;
- Pest controllers and fumigators;
- Other repairers and servicers;
- Transport truck drivers;
- Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators;
- Heavy equipment operators; and
- Aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors.
There will also be three occupations that will become ineligible, including:
- other performers;
- program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness; and
- tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners.
These three occupations will remain eligible for programs with broader occupational eligibility criteria, such as some streams of the Provincial Nominee Program.
The major change to NOC 2021 is the current four-category “skill level” structure has been overhauled and replaced by a new six-category system. The new system outlines the level of Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) required to enter each occupation.
The previous NOC had four skill levels. NOC A represented jobs that tend to require university degrees, NOC B included jobs in the skilled trades or that require a college diploma, NOC C covered jobs that require intermediate skills or job-specific training, and NOC D was for labour jobs that require on-the-job training.
In September 2020, IRCC’s Executive Committee decided that the new TEER structure will be adopted as follows:
|NOC 2016||NOC 2021|
|Skill Type 0||TEER 0|
|Skill Level A||TEER 1|
|Skill Level B||TEER 2|
|Skill Level B||TEER 3|
|Skill Level C||TEER 4|
|Skill Level D||TEER 5|
NOC 2021 will use a five-tier hierarchical system to classify occupations. Also, occupations will now have a five-digit codification system instead of the current four-digit system. The TEER system has six categories, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Statistics Canada explains there are two main reasons why the skill type model is being replaced by the TEER system. First, the TEER system aims to provide more clarity on the level of education and work experience required to work in an occupation. Second, the skill type model creates artificial categorizations between low- and high-skilled jobs. Implementing TEER is intended to give stakeholders a better sense of the skills required for each occupation.
This Statistics Canada tool allows you to see how your current NOC corresponds with NOC 2021.
© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.
More Canadians could face late-stage cancer tied to diagnosis delays during COVID pandemic – CBC News
It all started with a stomach bug.
That’s what Cheryl-Anne Labrador-Summers thought, anyway. It was October 2020, not long after she’d moved to the tranquil lakeside Ontario community of Georgina, and instead of relaxing with her family like she’d planned, the mother of three was struggling to figure out why she kept experiencing strange, unexplained stomach cramps.
Labrador-Summers tried to visit her family physician, but the office was shuttered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So she searched for another clinic — only to be offered a phone appointment rather than an in-person assessment. She wound up being told that her grumbling digestive system was likely caused by a mild gastrointestinal illness.
By January, the 58-year-old had a distended stomach, looking — in her own words — “about nine months pregnant.” Again, she reached out to a physician, went for some tests, then headed to the nearest emergency department.
After finally seeing a doctor face to face for the first time in months, she learned the real cause of her discomfort: an intestinal blockage caused by cancer.
“It ended up being a nine-centimetre tumour, and it had completely blocked off my lower bowel,” she said.
An emergency surgery left Labrador-Summers with 55 staples along her torso and a months-long recovery before she could begin oral chemotherapy. Her question now is unanswerable but painful to consider: Could that ordeal have been prevented, or at least minimized, by an earlier diagnosis?
“Had I maybe been able to see the doctors earlier, I would not be in Stage 3,” she said. “I might have been a Stage 2.”
951,000 fewer cancer screenings in Ontario
More Canadians could experience late-stage cancer diagnoses in the years ahead, medical experts warn, forecasting a looming crisis tied to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We expect to see more advanced stages of presentation over the next couple of years, as well as impacts on cancer treatments,” said oncologist Dr. Timothy Hanna, a clinician scientist at the Cancer Research Institute at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
“We know that time is of the essence for people with cancer. And when people are waiting for a diagnosis or for treatment, this has been associated with increased risks of advanced stage and worse survival.”
One review of Ontario’s breast, lung, colon, and cervical cancer screening programs showed that in 2020 there were 41 per cent — or more than 951,000 — fewer screening tests conducted compared with the year before.
Screening volumes rebounded after May 2020, but were still 20 per cent lower compared to pre-pandemic levels.
WATCH | Late-stage cancer being diagnosed in Canadian ERs:
That drop in screenings translates into fewer invasive cancer diagnoses, including roughly 1,400 to 1,500 fewer breast cancers, wrote Dr. Anna N. Wilkinson, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, in a May commentary piece for the journal Canadian Family Physician.
“The impact of COVID-19 on cancer is far-reaching: screening backlogs, delayed workup of symptomatic patients and abnormal screening results, and delays in cancer treatment and research, all exacerbated by patient apprehension to be seen in person,” she wrote.
“It is clear that there is not only a lost cohort of screened patients but also a subset of missed cancer diagnoses due to delays in patient presentation and assessment,” leading to those cancers being diagnosed at a more advanced stage.
Tough accessing care in a ‘timely way’
The slowdown in colonoscopies may already be leading to more serious cases of colorectal cancer in Ontario, for instance, suggests a paper published in the Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.
“Patients who were treated after the COVID-19 pandemic began were significantly more likely to present emergently to hospital. This means that they were more likely to present with bowel perforation, or severe bowel obstruction, requiring immediate life-saving surgery,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Catherine Forse, in a call with CBC News.
“In addition, we found that patients were more likely to have large tumours.”
In some cases — like Labrador-Summers’s situation — Canadians learned alarming news about their health in hospital emergency departments after struggling to receive in-patient care through other avenues.
Shuttered family physician offices, a shift to telemedicine, and some patients’ fears surrounding COVID-19 may all have played a role.
“It became harder for patients to access care and to access it in a timely way,” Hanna said.
“At the same time, there were real risks — and there are real risks for leaving home to go anywhere, particularly to go to an outpatient clinic or a hospital in order to get checked out.”
Dr. Lisa Salamon, an emergency physician with the Scarborough Health Network in Toronto, said she’s now diagnosing more patients with serious cancers, including several just in the last few months.
“So previously, it may have been localized or something small, but now we’re actually seeing metastatic cancer that we’re diagnosing,” she explained.
Lessons for future pandemics
Health policy expert Laura Greer is dealing with Stage four, metastatic breast cancer herself after waiting more than five months for a routine mammogram she was initially due for in the spring of 2021 — a precautionary measure given that her mother had breast cancer as well.
Unlike an early-stage diagnosis, Greer’s cancer is only treatable, not curable.
“It was an example of what happens when you don’t have the regular screening, or those wellness visits,” said the Toronto resident and mother of two.
“I most likely would have had earlier-stage cancer if it had been sooner.”
Pausing access to care and screenings for other health conditions can have dire impacts on patients, according to Greer, offering lessons for how policy-makers tackle future pandemics.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got enough capacity in our health system to be able to flex, and that’s what we really didn’t have going into this,” she said.
For Labrador-Summers, it’s hard to forget the moment her life changed while she was alone in an emergency department, learning a terrifying diagnosis from a physician she’d just met. Her mind raced with questions about the future and concerns for her family.
“My older son had just told us they were expecting a child, and I just wanted to be there for them. And I didn’t know what next steps were. And we had lost my mom to cancer a few years back — to us, cancer was always terminal,” she recalled.
“So again, I’m alone, trying to process all of this.”
A screening following Labrador-Summers’ surgery and chemotherapy treatment wound up finding more cancer.
“It’s now life-threatening,” she said.
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