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Travelling to or within Canada? The rules have changed. Here's what you need to know –



Passport? Check. Plane ticket? Check. What about your vaccination documents and COVID-19 test results? Thanks to the pandemic, returning home from a trip abroad now requires a lengthy checklist.

“You definitely have to be prepared and it’s not going to be the usual experience,” said Senka Dukovich of Toronto, who flew home from Croatia earlier this month. 

Even domestic travellers may face challenges when entering certain provinces. 

Here’s what you need to know about travelling to or within Canada, with the help of some Canadians who’ve already hit the road. 

Before you return to Canada

Although fully vaccinated Canadians can now skip quarantine when returning to Canada, they still face other requirements.

Dukovich, her husband Ted Read, and their five-year-old granddaughter Ksenija Callaghan, travelled to Croatia in June to visit family. They had a two-day stopover in Paris before their final flight back to Canada on July 7. 

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France requires travellers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, but Dukovich and her husband got an exemption by showing proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations. Ksenija was also exempt because of her age. 

“Countries’ rules can change,” said Dukovich. “I did a lot of research to choose my flight path.”

The trio, however, still had to take COVID-19 tests in Paris before boarding their final flight home. 

Travellers to Canada — even those who are fully vaccinated — must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Air passengers need to take the test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their final direct flight to Canada.

Dukovich was pleased to discover that — at the time — France provided free PCR tests.

“We got three COVID tests [for free] that would have cost at least $400,” she said. “No hassles, no waits, no appointment.”

Senka Dukovich, her husband Ted Read and granddaughter Ksenija Callaghan, travelled to home to Toronto on July 7 following a trip to Croatia. (Submitted by Senka Dukovich)

However, Canadians departing France now won’t be so lucky; on July 7, the country stopped providing free tests to tourists outside the EU.

Travellers to Canada must submit their travel information to the federal government using the ArriveCAN app or by registering online within 72 hours before their arrival.

“You had to upload documentation for both your first and second dose,” said Dukovich who submitted the family’s application from a hotel room in Paris. “We just had our phone, so you can imagine, trying to do this on the little phone.”

On arrival

When travellers finish inputting their information, they’re emailed a receipt to show a Canadian border officer upon arrival, along with their COVID-19 test results and any vaccination documents.

On July 9, Shawn Plancke, a Canadian who lives in Barcelona, flew to Halifax with his wife and three children. He advises travellers to pack hard copies of their documents before departing for Canada. 

“I know this is going against society these days, but print it out,” he said. “I would not have wanted to be flipping through my phone [for documents].”

Both land and air travellers will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival in Canada, or be given a home test kit. The federal government provides the tests for free and travellers can pre-register online to save time. 

Dukovich and her family landed in Montreal. She said they received home test kits instead of an on-site test, because they had a connecting flight to Toronto.

“On the way out, they just handed us kits like they were giving you a lunch box,” said Dukovich. 

At home, she had to go online and be guided by a nurse via video conference who provided instructions including “counting down the seconds you have to have the swab in your nose,” said Dukovich. 

That same day, Purolator picked up the tests. 

Traveling with children 

Fully vaccinated travellers don’t have to quarantine while waiting for their test results. But Dukovich thought that she and her husband were required to, because their five-year-old granddaughter — who’s staying with them — isn’t vaccinated.

Children under 12 are currently not allowed to get vaccinated in Canada. 

It was only on day three of their quarantine that Dukovich learned from a quarantine officer that only her granddaughter had to quarantine. 

“That was a relief,” said Dukovich. “My husband and I are free to go out.”

Unvaccinated travellers — or those who got a vaccine currently not recognized by the Canadian government — must quarantine for 14 days. Those entering by air must also spend up to three of those days in a quarantine hotel at their own expense. 

However, unvaccinated children under 18 can head home with their vaccinated parents. But they must quarantine — even though their parents can leave the house. 

Fully vaccinated Shawn Plancke and his wife, Samantha McGuinness were exempt from quarantine after entering Canada. But their three children were required to quarantine for 14 days. (Submitted by Shawn Plancke)

But that’s not the message Plancke said he got when he and his family landed in Halifax after taking a connecting flight in Montreal. Plancke and his wife are fully vaccinated, but their three children are not. Even so, he said a provincial representative at the Halifax airport insisted the entire family was exempt from quarantine. 

“My wife is like, ‘But realize we’re not just flying from Montreal, we’re flying from Spain. And she said, ‘Nope, nope, that doesn’t make any difference, all five of you are fine.'”

Plancke then called the federal government’s COVID-19 line and learned that his three children must quarantine.

Travelling within Canada

The rules can also be complex for domestic travellers. 

Air passengers travelling within Canada don’t have to take a pre-arrival COVID-19 test.

However, Nova ScotiaNew BrunswickPrince Edward IslandNewfoundland and LabradorManitoba and the territories still require some inter-provincial travellers to quarantine.

The rules can vary depending on your vaccination status and/or where you’re travelling from. For example, most of the Atlantic provinces now allow travellers from within Atlantic Canada to enter, regardless of their vaccination status. 

The rest of Canada can skip quarantine in the Atlantic provinces if fully vaccinated or, in the case of New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, have at least one dose. (To note: P.E.I.’s exemption for vaccinated travellers doesn’t kick in until Sunday.) 

Fully vaccinated travellers can also skip quarantine in Manitoba and the territories. 

Manitoba, Yukon and the Atlantic provinces also exempt from quarantine unvaccinated children under 12 — if all their vaccinated guardians meet the exemption requirement. In Nova Scotia, the rule applies to unvaccinated children ages 18 and younger. 

(CBC News)

“It’s quite confusing,” said Plancke. But he said he understands why his kids, who travelled internationally, must follow the federal quarantine rules. 

“The last thing we want to do is to pass on COVID due to our travels.” 

The provinces and territories listed here may have further requirements for tourists, so travellers to those regions should check the rules online before packing their bags.

For example, the Atlantic provinces require certain visitors to pre-register, and travellers to Nunavut must first get authorization. Also, the Northwest Territories still bars most leisure travellers. 

Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.

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Canada’s wildfires could cost billions, kill thousands if nothing is done: report – Global News



Western Canada must urgently address the threats posed by highly destructive wildfires or face deadly and costly consequences, says a group of forest and environmental experts from British Columbia and the United States.

The experts, including Mathieu Bourbonnais, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of B.C. Okanagan, predict devastating wildfires like those currently burning in B.C. will be “commonplace” by 2050.

The group has released a paper predicting billions of dollars spent on suppression and indirect costs from the fires _ as well as hundreds or thousands of premature deaths each year due to smoke exposure _ ifaction isn’t taken to address climate change and the “daunting” scale of fuel, such as fallen trees and dead vegetation, that’s built up.

“If you look at record-breaking seasons, we’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on fire suppression,” said Bourbonnais, a former wildland firefighter from Alberta.

Click to play video: 'Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution'

Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution

Concerns about the adverse effects of B.C. wildfire smoke pollution

“You can think about, if you spread that out over a couple of seasons, how may communities we could be engaged with on protecting watersheds, protecting drinking water sources, the communities themselves, high-value infrastructure, the ecosystems,” he said in an interview. “By doing that, we’re investing in a future that hopefully we don’t need to spend those kind of dollars on fire suppression.”

The group’s paper suggests creating patches of space in the forest that contain less flammable material, a strategy that can also boost the efficacy of fire suppression efforts, said Bourbonnais.

“Rather than crews responding to a fire with nothing but fuel in front of them, there are natural fire breaks, there’s old prescribed burns that help slow the fire down.”

Read more:
B.C. wildfire update: A pause in rapid fire growth but forecast remains hot and dry

Asked about the paper, the director of fire centre operations for the BC Wildfire Service said there was recognition of the work that needed to be done with communities as well as reducing fuel in the forests following historic wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018.

“I’m part of many different planning tables and discussions within this province and within this ministry on how do we do this better,” Rob Schweitzer told a news conference on Thursday.

“Through prescribed fire, through utilization of Indigenous traditional knowledge in use of fire, as well as amending our forest harvesting practices and the woody debris left behind, are all pieces that we continue to discuss and actually start to change policy and implement new strategies to help reduce that amount of fuel.”

Click to play video: 'South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire'

South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

South Okanagan couple loses home to Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

About 1,250 wildfires have charred 4,560 square kilometres of bush since the start of B.C.’s fire season in April, compared with the 10-year average of 658 fires and about 1,060 square kilometres burned over the same time period, Schweitzer said.

Three dozen of the 245 wildfires that were burning in B.C on Thursday were considered either extremely threatening or highly visible, including a 655-square-kilometre fire north of Kamloops Lake that prompted an evacuation order for nearly 300 properties.

There were 28 states of local emergency and more than 60 evacuation orders covering 3,443 properties on Thursday. Nearly 90 evacuation alerts covered 17,679 properties, where residents were told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, said Pader Brach, executive director of regional operations for Emergency Management BC.

The number of daily new fires has subsided this week, Schweitzer said.

Click to play video: 'Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires'

Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires

Concern over long-term impact of Ontario wildfires

But higher temperatures are expected to contribute to “severe burning conditions” in B.C.’s southern half, he added. The forecast should bring more fresh air to the Interior, he said, fuelling a “short-lived increase in fire growth” but also aiding firefighting efforts by air, which have been hampered by smoky skies.

The service also anticipates some lighting this weekend, Schweitzer said, and crews are standing ready if new fires start.

Environment Canada issued heat warnings stretching across B.C.’s southern Interior, inland sections of the north and central coasts, as well as the south coast and parts of Vancouver Island. The wildfire service warns the combination of high temperatures and low relative humidity will make fires even more intense.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Northern Canada may be a popular destination at the end of the world – CTV News



In the event of societal collapse, researchers suggest northern Canada may be “habitable” and could act as a lifeboat, but that other countries are better suited for survival.

The researchers found that Earth is in a “perilous state” due to rapid population growth and an energy consuming society that has altered the Earth’s system and biosphere. They say that societal collapse could happen in various forms, including economic collapse, worsening climate catastrophe, a pandemic worse than COVID-19, or another mass extinction event, which the researchers say is already underway.

The goal of the study, published in the journal Sustainability on July 21, was to create a shortlist of nations that could host survivors in the event of a societal collapse, where civilization could start over. The researchers evaluated the land, how much was available and its quality, how easy or difficult it is to travel to the country, available renewable resources, climate and agriculture, to determine where it would be best to survive the end of the world.

Islands with low population density, particularly those with distinct seasonal changes, fared the best with New Zealand topping the list. Iceland, U.K., Australia (specifically Tasmania) and Ireland made up the rest of the shortlist where it would be best for society to restart after a collapse.

Northern Canada, while not on the shortlist, could act as a “lifeboat” in the event of societal collapse due to climate change and extreme temperatures, but survival would rely on maintaining agriculture and renewable energy sources to keep the population alive.

The researchers showed that the shortlisted countries had strong renewable energy sources, were in temperate climates, and have plenty of agricultural land and space for growth. In the case of Iceland, where suitable land for livestock is not in abundance, this downside is offset by fisheries and the island’s wealth of renewable resources, of which geothermal resources have already been widely developed.

While this may give Canadians living in northern regions a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, there are still zombie fires to contend with as climate change warms the north and shortens winters.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world –



The latest:

Health authorities in Thailand are racing to set up a large field hospital in a cargo building at one of Bangkok’s airports as the country reports record numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths.

Other field hospitals are already in use in the capital after it ran out of hospital facilities for thousands of infected residents. Workers rushed to finish the 1,800-bed hospital at Don Mueang International Airport, where beds made from cardboard box materials are laid out with mattresses and pillows.

The airport has had little use because almost all domestic flights were cancelled two weeks ago. The field hospital is expected to be ready for patients in two weeks.

The quick spread of the delta variant also led neighbouring Cambodia to seal its border with Thailand on Thursday and order a lockdown and movement restrictions in eight provinces.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET

What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Get the latest on Alberta’s plan to ease restrictions: 

Alberta will be pulling back on requirements for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and quarantines, despite rising cases in the province. 2:05

What’s happening around the world

Spain’s head coach David Martin Lozano, left, is interviewed under COVID-19 precautions after a win over Serbia in a preliminary round men’s water polo match at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo on Sunday. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

As of early Thursday morning, more than 196 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.1 million deaths had been reported.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Tokyo reported 3,865 new cases on Thursday, up from 3,177 on Wednesday and double the number it had a week ago. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katunobu Kato told reporters the new cases are soaring not only in the Tokyo area but also across the country. He said Japan has never experienced an expansion of infections of this magnitude.

The World Health Organization’s Africa director says the continent of 1.3 billion people is entering an “encouraging phase after a bleak June” as supplies of COVID-19 vaccines increase. But Matshidiso Moeti told reporters on Thursday that just 10 per cent of the doses needed to vaccinate 30 per cent of Africa’s population by the end of 2021 have arrived. Some 82 million doses have arrived in Africa so far, while 820 million are needed.

A health worker administers a dose of the Janssen Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Dakar on Wednesday. Senegal is seeing an uptick in cases, sparking worry among health-care workers. (Leo Correa/The Associated Press)

Less than two per cent of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated, and the more infectious delta variant is driving a deadly resurgence of cases.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel on vaccine deliveries to Africa but it must not be snuffed out again,” Moeti said. 

In the Americas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that 66.6 per cent of U.S. counties had transmission rates of COVID-19 high enough to warrant indoor masking and should immediately resume the policy.

COVID-19 continues to inflict a devastating toll on the Americas, with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Paraguay among the countries with the world’s highest weekly death rates, the Pan American Health Organization said.

In the Middle East, Iran on Wednesday reported 33,817 new cases of COVID-19 and 303 additional deaths. The country, which has been hit hard by COVID-19, is experiencing yet another surge in cases.

In Europe, Spain’s prime minister said existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October.

Spain, one of the countries that was hardest hit at the beginning of the health emergency, has extended subsidies for the unemployed and furloughs for companies that have gone out of business to try to cushion an economic drop of 11 per cent of its gross domestic product in 2020.

-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

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