The number of incoming visitors to Canada has been gradually increasing in the days since travel restrictions began easing for fully vaccinated, eligible travellers — and the country’s border agents are expecting more this weekend.
The Canada Border Services Agency says incoming traffic last week increased about 25 per cent after quarantine rules were waived Monday for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others already allowed to cross the border.
But despite the agency’s best efforts to publicize the requirements, roughly half of the people seeking the exemption had to be turned away, said Denis Vinette, vice-president of the agency’s travellers branch.
“It’s a question, I think, of folks not understanding the rules,” Vinette said in an interview.
Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents and eligible foreign nationals who have gone two weeks since a full course of one of the four COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson — are exempt from quarantine.
Canada has exceptions in place for foreign nationals who are immediate family members of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as well as a process to allow extended family members and international students to apply for entry.
Of those who were denied the exemption last week, most had either had only one dose of a two-dose vaccine, had not waited the requisite 14 days after their last shot or had received a vaccine not cleared for use in Canada, Vinette said.
“The big thing for folks to understand is what qualifies as a fully exempted traveller under Canada’s definition,” Vinette said in an interview Friday.
“It is about having had one of the four Health Canada vaccines. It’s about having had the full regimens, or both shots, and having had 14 days pass after your second shot.”
Travellers are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online portal to submit their vaccine information and the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before departure.
Air Canada and WestJet are also helping to promote the rules with signage in airports, and airport authorities and provincial public health agencies are also doing their part, Vinette said.
The agency is anxious to make sure people understand what has changed and what has not in order to prevent excessive delays or tie-ups at border control points, he added.
He said the delays have not been extensive, except for at busy border crossings like Windsor-Detroit, Fort Erie, Ont., and the Pacific Highway crossing in B.C., where peak wait times were sometimes close to 45 minutes.
That could be changing this weekend.
“We ask people to be patient at the border if they find that there are long lineups and folks coming in for the weekend,” Vinette said.
“It’s our first test, if you will, especially in the land border environment.”
The ArriveCAN portal can be accessed either via the Apple or Android app or online via the federal government’s website at canada.ca. Travellers must use the latest version of the app, which was updated when the rules changed.
As for when the restrictions will be relaxed further, that remains an open question.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he has no intention of jeopardizing Canada’s recovery from the pandemic by prematurely opening the border. He said the next step would be easing the restrictions on fully vaccinated travellers who aren’t Canadian, but didn’t say when that might happen.
South of the border, patience for the return of Canadian visitors has been running low.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents the border state of New York, urged the two countries to come up with a mutual plan to reopen the border as soon as possible — and failing that, for the U.S. to take unilateral action.
“If an agreement cannot be reached the United States must do two things,” Schumer said in a statement last week.
“Expand the definition of essential travel to include vaccinated Canadian citizens with family, property, educational, medical, or business interests (in the U.S.), and unilaterally open the northern border to those vaccinated Canadians.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2021.
Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Wednesday – CBC.ca
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- Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: Covid@cbc.ca or join us live in the comments now.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky says new mask-wearing guidance, coupled with higher rates of vaccination against COVID-19, could halt the current escalation of infections in “a couple of weeks.”
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CBS This Morning she hopes more stringent mask-wearing guidelines and other measures won’t be necessary as the country heads into the fall.
“We can halt the chain of transmission,” she said. “We can do something if we unify together, if we get people vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated, if we mask in the interim, we can halt this in just a matter of a couple of weeks.”
With the delta variant fuelling a surge of infections across the country, the CDC on Tuesday recommended even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in areas where the variant is prevalent.
Walensky said 80 per cent of the counties with the highest number of infections have less than 40 per cent of people vaccinated.
The nation is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. The guidance on masks in indoor public places applies in parts of the U.S. with at least 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week.
–From The Associated Press last updated at 9:45 a.m. ET
What’s happening in Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Wednesday morning, more than 195.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case-tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.1 million.
In Africa, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan received her vaccine in public, in the most decisive signal yet of a break from the policies of her late predecessor who repeatedly dismissed the threat of the pandemic.
Zimbabwe has authorized the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the first Western-made shot to be approved by the southern African nation, its medicines regulator said.
In Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution on Wednesday about drawing conclusions from a seven-day decline in COVID-19 cases in Britain, saying it was too early to assess whether it was a definite trend.
“We have seen some encouraging recent data. There’s no question about that but it is far, far too early to draw any general conclusions,” Johnson told LBC radio.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Indonesia recorded 47,791 new cases and 1,824 confirmed in the last 24 hours. The Health Ministry recorded 558,392 active cases in Indonesia, with more than 81,000 cases from Sumatra regions.
In the Middle East, Israel is considering giving a third shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to its elderly population, even before FDA approval, to help fend off the delta variant.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 11:50 a.m. ET
Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.
Canada not among countries exempt from quarantine for travel into England – CBC.ca
The government of the United Kingdom announced today that travellers to England who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the European Union or United States will be exempt from mandatory quarantine upon arrival — but fully vaccinated travellers from Canada will still have to undergo quarantine.
The change goes into effect on Aug. 2, according to a news release from the U.K. government. While the U.K. Department for Transport has confirmed for CBC News that the change does not apply to Canadians, no reason has been given for the exclusion.
In a statement issued to CBC News, a Department for Transport spokesperson did not say why Canadians are not exempt.
“We are taking a phased approach to restarting international travel while protecting public health,” it reads. “We want to welcome all international visitors back to the U.K. and are working to extend our approach to vaccinated passengers from important markets and holiday destinations.”
From 2 August, passengers who are fully vaccinated from the US and European countries (currently excludes arrivals from France) will be able to travel from Amber countries to England without quarantine.<br><br>We are also restarting international cruises. Find out more👇
That means travellers from Canada to England will still have to quarantine at home or in the place they’re staying for 10 days, and take a COVID-19 test on or after their eighth day in the country. A few exceptions apply — one of which covers travellers who have been vaccinated in the U.K. A full list of rules can be found on the Department for Transport’s website.
“Passengers who are fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or in the USA with vaccines authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, will be able to travel to England without having to quarantine or take a day 8 test on arrival,” the news release says.
The exemption applies to some European countries outside of the EU, such as Norway and Iceland, but travellers from France will still have to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.
No updates for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
According to BBC News, the government of Scotland has not made a decision on exempting fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S. and Europe. As of today, Wales and Northern Ireland also have not updated their rules for travel — which require a quarantine upon arrival from outside the U.K. unless the traveller was fully vaccinated through the U.K. vaccination programme.
IRCC: Canada welcomed over 35,000 new immigrants in June – Canada Immigration News
Canada recorded its strongest month for new permanent resident arrivals during the pandemic in June 2021, according to the office of Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
In a recent Globe and Mail article, the minister says “We are going to make good on our commitment to land 401,000 new permanent residents.”
Under its Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, the Canadian government is seeking to welcome at least 401,000 new immigrants annually, beginning this year. Prior to the pandemic, this target was set at 341,000 newcomers.
The plan is the most ambitious in Canada’s history. Only once has Canada welcomed over 400,000 immigrants in a year. This took place in 1913, but Canadian immigration plummeted immediately after due to the onset of the First World War.
The minister’s office estimates that Canada welcomed over 35,000 new permanent residents in June. In follow up email correspondence with CIC News, the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said its preliminary figures show Canada welcomed 35,700 immigrants last month. This figure is significantly higher than Canada’s totals in recent months.
Canada got off to a strong start to the year. It welcomed 24,680 new immigrants in January but lost momentum in the months to follow. The country then welcomed 23,395 in February, 22,425 in March, and 21,155 in April, and 17,100 in May.
Altogether Canada has welcomed some 143,000 new permanent residents through the first six months of 2021 which remains well short of the pace it needs to welcome 401,000 newcomers by the end of this year.
In order to achieve this newcomer target, Canada needs to land another 258,000 immigrants — an average of 43,000 per month — over the rest of the year.
Welcoming this volume of immigration over the remaining six months will be difficult but there is an outside chance it can be achieved.
Prior to the pandemic Canada welcomed an average of 25,000 to 35,000 newcomers per month. Immigration levels tend to be higher in the warmer months as more newcomers arrive during favourable weather conditions and leading up to the start of the academic and business calendar in September.
In 2019, levels were stronger in the second half of the year compared to the first as Canada welcomed 180,000 newcomers between July and December.
Assuming Canada welcomes that same level in the second half of 2021, it will conclude the year at just over 320,000 new permanent residents which is still below its target.
However there are several tailwinds remaining that could propel Canada closer to its newcomer goal.
Some 23,000 additional Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders are now eligible to move to Canada after restrictions on them were eased on June 21st.
Anyone else newly approved for permanent residence can also immediately move to Canada as a result of this easing.
IRCC also introduced six new permanent residency streams that will enable some 90,000 international student graduates and essential workers to remain in Canada. The department’s goal is to process some 40,000 of these applications by the end of this year.
The third tailwind is also from the domestic pool of permanent residence candidates. IRCC has been breaking various Express Entry records throughout the year as it prioritizes Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates.
Draw sizes are larger than ever while cut-off scores are at record lows. According to IRCC, some 90 per cent of CEC candidates currently reside in Canada so it is easier for the department to transition them to permanent residence amid the pandemic than candidates abroad. IRCC has already issued nearly 100,000 Express Entry invitations this year which is almost double the invitations it issued at the same point in 2020. A significant portion of those invited during the pandemic should complete their permanent residence landing by the end of 2021.
The minister’s office told the Globe that the 45,100 permanent residence applications IRCC processed in June were the highest ever, which suggests that IRCC has the capacity to process and finalize the necessary number of applications to achieve its levels goal.
There are risks along the way that could disrupt IRCC’s plans. The global coronavirus situation remains volatile and things such as increased case levels and travel restrictions could get in the way. For example, Canada continues to restrict flights from its main newcomer source country, India.
A prolonging of this restriction could get in the way of IRCC’s goal. Further delays to COPR holder arrivals is another risk. IRCC is currently seeking to correspond with thousands of expired COPR holders to arrange their landing in Canada. This is a time-consuming process as IRCC needs to individually contact each COPR holder to ensure they have all the necessary documents to complete the immigration process.
Nonetheless, the coming months should see immigration levels remain high. There also remains a strong chance that monthly immigration totals will hit record highs by the end of the year due to the combination of more overseas arrivals and in-Canada applicants completing their landings.
© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.
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