The federal government announced today it plans to let fully vaccinated tourists visit Canada again soon.
Ottawa now says that — starting Aug. 9 at 12:01 a.m. ET. — fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents living in that country will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
The government said it plans to allow fully vaccinated travellers from all other countries to enter Canada on Sept. 7.
A government official speaking on background to journalists today said that, as of Aug. 9, children under 12 — who aren’t yet approved to receive a vaccine — will be exempt from the quarantine requirement after entering Canada and can move around with their parents if they follow public health measures.
The official said those children should avoid group settings such as school, camps and daycares — especially indoor ones.
How that restriction applies to tourist destinations remains unclear.
“The key here is for parents or any travellers coming to Canada to understand what are the requirements and plan accordingly,” said the official.
“It is possible that they are attending tourist locations or activities — as long as things are outdoors, I think the risks are limited.”
Proof of vaccination
Foreign visitors would also have to follow provincial and territorial public health measures.
Adults entering will need to present proof (in either English or French) that they’ve received a complete round of one of the vaccines approved for use in Canada. That means two doses of either the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca products, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, at least 14 days before arriving.
All travellers must use the government’s ArriveCAN portal to submit their information. If they meet the government’s criteria, they will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
Travellers will still need to get a COVID-19 molecular test result before they arrive in Canada.
However, the government announced today that it plans to launch a new surveillance program at airports and land border crossings starting Aug. 9. Fully vaccinated travellers will not need a post-arrival test unless they have been randomly selected to complete a COVID-19 molecular test.
The White House has not yet announced a reciprocal deal for Canadians.
“We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about re-opening travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said today.
“We take this incredibly seriously, but we look and are guided by our own medical experts. I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”
Besides the rule change allowing fully vaccinated Americans to cross into Canada, a number of other changes will roll out on Aug. 9.
The government also announced that it’s scrapping the three-night government-authorized hotel stay requirement for all travellers on that date.
Quarantine plan still required
The Canadian government shut its border to foreign travellers and implemented strict measures for non-essential workers in March 2020. With COVID-19 case numbers dropping and vaccination rates rising, Ottawa has started already to ease some restrictions.
Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents have been able to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement since earlier this month.
Even if they think they will be exempt, all fully vaccinated travellers will still need to have a quarantine plan in case a border official finds they do not meet the necessary requirements.
Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated travellers will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
As part of its initial COVID-19 prevention measures, the government restricted incoming international flights to just four airports.
Starting Aug. 9, international flights carrying passengers will once again be allowed to land at the following airports: Halifax Stanfield International Airport; Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport; Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport; Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport; and Edmonton International Airport.
A Transport Canada official said the department is working with other airports to resume international flights.
Transport Canada also announced it has extended the notice to airmen that restricts all direct commercial and private passenger flights to Canada from India until August 21.
Fauci says prospect of open border for fully vaccinated Canadians part of active U.S. talks – CBC.ca
U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci says the prospect of opening the U.S. border to fully vaccinated Canadians is part of an “active discussion” in the White House.
“I can tell you that the border situation and letting Canadians in who are fully vaccinated is an area of active discussion right now in the U.S. government,” he told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics in an exclusive Canadian interview.
“As a public health official, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out why policies haven’t changed.”
Earlier this week, the U.S. government issued a renewal order keeping the borders with Canada and Mexico closed until August 21.
According to U.S. Homeland Security officials, the move is part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the more contagious delta variant.
The delta variant has been wreaking havoc south of the border, where infections and hospitalizations are up in nearly all 50 states.
Fauci said the delta variant now accounts for 83 per cent of cases in the U.S. Those cases are concentrated in southern states, where vaccination rates are lower than the national average.
“In some of the southern states where the level of vaccination is very low and the level of the transmission of the virus is very high, we’re seeing a significant surge in cases,” Fauci said.
“This virus has an extraordinary capability of efficiently spreading from person to person.”
The White House has enlisted the help of celebrities and athletes to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, particularly in states led by Republican governors. In recent days, high-profile conservative figures such as Fox pundit Sean Hannity have encouraged Americans to get vaccinated.
Concerts, vaccines, bobbleheads, and even <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ManCrushMonday?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ManCrushMonday</a>: watch Olivia Rodrigo and Dr. Fauci read fan tweets. <a href=”https://t.co/NnwKwrkNWW”>pic.twitter.com/NnwKwrkNWW</a>
Fauci said the U.S. must increase its vaccination rate to end current outbreaks of COVID-19.
“We’re seeing some of them starting to come around, which is a really good thing, because we’ve got to realize and act on it, that the common enemy is the virus,” he told Power & Politics.
“The virus doesn’t have any idea who’s a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent.”
Permanent residents in limbo waiting to immigrate to Canada – CBC.ca
Aashray Kovi refreshes his email several times a day hoping for good news from Canadian immigration officials.
The 28-year-old computer programmer who lives in Bangalore, India, is one of about 23,000 aspiring immigrants with expired or soon-to-be expired documents waiting to enter Canada.
“It’s really depressing for all of us,” said Kovi, who plans to settle in Ottawa but can’t travel because his confirmation of permanent residency (COPR) document expired in early June, prior to travel restrictions being lifted.
Late last month, the federal government lifted some COVID-19 restrictions, allowing anyone with a valid COPR to enter Canada, but that didn’t help Kovi’s case.
Despite having started the immigration process in 2018, Kovi says he’s never struggled to get clear answers from the government until this point. He says he’s been emailing and calling for weeks, waiting for the documents to be reissued, but has had no luck getting an answer on when he can expect to arrive in Ottawa.
WATCH | Waiting to enter Canada:
“I know it is not simple, there is COVID, the only issue with all of this is a lack of communication,” said Kovi.
“If provided with better communication, I could wait till 2022, but this is putting my life in limbo.”
Sameer Masih, his wife and son are similarly stuck in a mostly empty apartment in New Delhi, seven months after they got their initial approvals and started selling their belongings.
“I am actually surviving on a bare minimum setup,” said Masih. He says the wait cost him a job at his employer’s Toronto office.
‘It’s hard for my family’
Sophie Ballesteros, from Barcelona, had a job lined up in Halifax and her husband, Carlos, quit his in January to ready himself for the move to Canada. The delay has been devastating for the couple, who started their immigration process in November 2019.
Carlos says he left his job because the permanent residency invitation told him to get his affairs in order, and he felt he had just a certain amount of time to immigrate or else he’d lose out on his dream of moving to Canada.
Their COPR documents also expired in June and there’s been no word yet on when they’ll be renewed.
The only communication they’ve received from the government was in March, when a generic email advised them that a previous communication of theirs had been received and that they would need to continue waiting.
“This is the first time in my life that I am unemployed,” said Carlos. “I don’t sleep at night.”
Sophie says she is struggling to immerse in her new digital marketing job in Canada while staying physically in Barcelona, and also trying to find a preschool for her four-year-old daughter.
“I have to work within the time zone of Canada and sometimes there are some clients that are from Vancouver,” she said. “It’s hard for my family.”
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged that global migration has been a nuisance for many people and that officials are working to help permanent residency holders into the country.
“We know that these disruptions have had a significant impact on many people hoping to start a new life in Canada, and we thank them for their patience at this difficult moment,” Alexander Cohen said in a statement.
Immigration lawyer Kyle Hyndman, in Vancouver, estimates more than half of those holding expired COPR documents are skilled workers who were chosen “to contribute to the Canadian labour market.”
He says communication from the federal government has been messy. He says sending documents that would expire to incoming residents, with directions to get their affairs in order, created a sense of working against the clock.
“These people are kind of in a holding pattern … you do a bunch of things to get ready to move that are kind of hard to undo,” Hyndman said.
Cohen says the pandemic has significantly impacted immigration processing times, and that the government will be contacting individuals with expired papers in the “weeks and months to come.”
Canada permitted 184,000 immigrants last year — the fewest since 1998 — compared to 341,000 in 2019. The government is aiming to jump-start immigration with 400,000 new residents per year for the next three years.
India flights to Canada: When will they be allowed? – Canada Immigration News
Earlier this week Canada extended its ban on flights from India until at least August 21.
The extension of the ban comes amid Canada continuing to ease its coronavirus travel restrictions for the rest of the world.
Denying flights from India is extremely disruptive to both Indians and Canadians alike. India is one of Canada’s most important allies and by far the largest source of new immigrants and international students. Some 20 per cent of Canada’s new permanent residents come from India. Indians comprise 30 per cent of Canada’s new international students. In Canada’s 2016 Census, nearly 1.4 million respondents identified themselves as being of Indian heritage.
Hence, it goes without saying that the flight ban is currently a major challenge for Indians, Indian-Canadians, families, and the Canadian economy.
While health is the main reason Canada introduced the ban, the decision to lift it will likely be influenced by other factors as well.
When making its COVID-19 travel policies, the Canadian government looks at factors such as domestic case counts, the rate of vaccination, as well as case counts and vaccination rates in other countries. It also evaluates variants, their transmissibility, and whether existing vaccines are proven to protect against variants.
In a written statement to CIC News on July 22, the Canadian government explained “While progress is being made, the situation in India is still very serious. This extension of the travel ban is based on scientific evidence and has been put in place to protect Canadians from an increased introduction of the Delta variant, which is prevalent in India.”
While health is the main consideration, an argument can be made that the Canadian government is also influenced by other factors, namely the impact of restrictions on its economy. Canada has stated it will begin to welcome fully-vaccinated tourists from the United States beginning on August 9. This decision comes amid rising COVID cases in the U.S. and that country’s vaccination rate stagnating.
On the other hand, the U.S. has extended its ban on Canadian tourists driving across the border. This means that it was not political pressure from the U.S. that caused Canada to decide to welcome American tourists again, but rather a combination of health and economic considerations.
As mentioned, the rising case count in the U.S. is cause for concern and has resulted in some Canadian media commentators questioning the decision to lift restrictions on American tourists. Conversely, the decision is being celebrated by those with an economic interest at stake, namely the Canadian tourism industry. Prior to the pandemic Canada welcomed 15 million American tourists per year and tourism supported about 10 per cent of Canadian jobs. Given the pandemic has decimated the tourism industry, the Canadian government likely felt significant pressure to reopen its border to U.S. tourists even if there were compelling reasons to keep it closed.
This should give us reason to believe that non-health reasons will play a role in Canada’s decision on India flights.
The pressure will be on from Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs)
Canada does not have any strong special interest groups that lobby on behalf of immigrants. This explains why groups such as Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders have faced significant challenges throughout the pandemic. Temporary foreign workers, however, are backed by the Canadian business community while Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) advocate on behalf of international students.
International students are a major source of revenue for Canada’s colleges and universities. DLIs played a crucial role in getting Canada to lift its travel restrictions on international students last October. Given that Indians are by far the number one source of new international students, DLIs will remain vocal as they seek to obtain concessions from the Canadian government by August 21, ahead of the start of the academic year when the fast majority of new study permit holders arrive to Canada.
There may also be political pressure
It appears likely that prime minister Justin Trudeau will call a new federal election in the coming months as he seeks to obtain a majority government.
The stakes for the India flight ban may be higher than usual going into the election given the significant influence of Indian-Canadians, who tend to live in the country’s most vote-rich cities. Courting their votes will be key to Trudeau’s electoral ambitions, and he may feel it is worthwhile lifting flight restrictions on India to further encourage them to vote for him.
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