Are you traveling 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 from a trip abroad now requires a long checklist.

“You absolutely have to be prepared and it won’t be the usual experience,” said Senka Dukovich of Toronto, who returned from Croatia earlier this month.

Even domestic travelers may face difficulties when entering certain provinces.

Here’s what you need to know about traveling within or within Canada, with the help of some Canadians who have been on the road before.

Before you return to Canada

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

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

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

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

The trio, however, still had to pass COVID-19 tests in Paris before boarding their last return flight.

Travelers to Canada – even those who are fully vaccinated – must provide proof a negative COVID-19 molecular test performed within 72 hours of arrival. Air passengers must take the test within 72 hours of the scheduled departure time of their last direct flight to Canada.

Dukovich was happy to find out that at the time, France was providing free PCR tests.

“We had three COVID tests [for free] it would have cost at least $ 400, “she said.” No hassle, no waiting, no dating. “

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

However, Canadians leaving France now will not be so lucky; July 7, the country ceased to provide free tests for tourists from outside the EU.

Travelers to Canada must submit their travel information to the federal government using the ArriverCAN application or by online registration within 72 hours of their arrival.

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

At the arrival

When travelers have finished entering their information, they will receive an email receipt to show a Canadian border officer upon arrival, along with their COVID-19 test results and any vaccination documentation.

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

“I know it goes against society these days, but print it out,” he said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to flip through my phone [for documents]. “

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

Dukovich and his family arrive 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 gave you a lunch box,” Dukovich said.

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

The same day, Purolator retrieved the tests.

Traveling with children

Fully vaccinated travelers do not have to self-quarantine while waiting for their test results. But Dukovich believed she and her husband had to do it, because their five-year-old granddaughter – who stays with them – is not vaccinated.

Children under the age of 12 are currently not allowed to be vaccinated in Canada.

It wasn’t until the third day of their quarantine that Dukovich learned from a quarantine officer that only his granddaughter should quarantine.

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

Unvaccinated travelers – or those who have received a vaccine currently not recognized by the Canadian government – must be quarantined for 14 days. Those entering by plane must also spend up to three of those days in a quarantine hotel at their expense.

However, unvaccinated children under the age of 18 can go home with their vaccinated parents. But they must self-quarantine – even if their parents can leave the house.

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

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

“My wife said to me, ‘But realize that we don’t just fly from Montreal, we fly from Spain. And she said, “No, no, it doesn’t make any difference, the five of you are fine.” “

Plancke then called the federal government’s COVID-19 line and learned that his three children were to be quarantined.

Traveling to Canada

The rules can also be complex for domestic travelers.

Air passengers traveling to Canada do not have to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival.

however, New Scotland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and the territories still require some interprovincial travelers to be quarantined.

The rules may vary depending on your vaccination status and / or where you come from. For example, most of the Atlantic provinces now allow travelers from Atlantic Canada to enter, regardless of their vaccination status.

The rest of Canada can skip quarantine in the Atlantic provinces if they are fully vaccinated or, in the case of New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, have at least one dose. (Note: The PEI exemption for vaccinated travelers does not take effect until Sunday.)

Fully vaccinated travelers may also skip quarantine in Manitoba and the territories.

Manitoba, the Yukon and the Atlantic provinces also exempt unvaccinated children under the age of 12 from quarantine – if all of their immunized guardians meet the exemption requirement. In Nova Scotia, the rule applies to unvaccinated children aged 18 and under.

(CBC News)

“It’s pretty confusing,” Plancke said. But he said he understands why his children, who have traveled overseas, must follow federal quarantine rules.

“The last thing we want to do is transmit COVID because of our travels.”

The provinces and territories listed here may have other requirements for tourists, so travelers to these areas should check the rules online before packing.

For example, the Atlantic provinces require some visitors to pre-register, and travelers to Nunavut must first obtain authorization. In addition, the Northwest Territories still excludes most leisure travelers.

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