As more Canadians receive COVID-19 vaccines, it may be time to consider what is required to reopen the border for international travel safely.
Patty Hajdu, Canada’s health minister, says the country is working on a certification system that would enable vaccinated Canadians to travel abroad.
“Canadians might wish to travel, and like there have been advancements in other kinds of travel situations over the years as a result of a variety of events, Canadians need to be prepared to be able to travel internationally,” Hajdu said in an interview with CBC Radio’s “The House”. We’ll see to it that they are.”
At a virtual press conference, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that the department is considering the implementation of a vaccine passport.
“Canada needs to be at the international desks… where talks are taking place about establishing a standardized norm for vaccines to facilitate the secure travel of all who have been vaccinated,” he said. My department is contributing to this, but we’re doing it in collaboration with Health Canada. Certainly, we are imagining a future post-vaccine. It’s a good thought in the grand scheme of things, but there’s always a lot of work to be done.”
What are the policies in other countries?
Many international travel debates in other countries have centered on the possibility of vaccination passports or digital certificates for those who have been vaccinated. These records may be used to show that the holder has obtained the COVID-19 vaccine to a border official from another country.
Officials from the European Union (EU) agreed to loosen limits for its 27 member states this week. Just a few countries with low COVID-19 rates are currently allowed to join the EU. The EU committee, on the other hand, believes that as a result of this recommendation, the list will grow.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said that it is time to revive tourism in Europe. Numerous people who obtained vaccines that was approved by the EU, such as the Moderna, Pfizer vaccine, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, will be allowed entry.
Both the United Kingdom and Israel are considering adopting some kind of vaccine certificate. The National Health Service (NHS) mobile app will be used in the United Kingdom, and Israel’s Green Pass will be used for international travel. Israelis will use the Green Pass to go to restaurants, gyms, concerts, and sporting events.
What about Canada?
In the CBC Radio interview, Hajdu hinted that Canada could adapt the ArriveCAN mobile app, which is already in use, to serve as a vaccine certification.
The ArriveCAN app is needed for all visitors to Canada. Before boarding their flight or arriving by land, travelers must apply their travel documents, contact information, quarantine plans, and a COVID-19 self-assessment test.
Prior to traveling to Canada, visitors must take the COVID-19 test. Upon arrival and on the eighth day of their 14-day quarantine, they must also take a COVID-19 test. They must also lodge in a government-approved hotel for three days after disembarking to wait for their test results.
Travelers must enter a trip reference code into the ArriveCAN app. They will be given a specific code when they book their government-approved hotel.
Before Canada is able to host international visitors, it will need to implement certain steps as well as other specifications.
“What is required in terms of lessons learned is that we provide a set of guidelines that will reassure the traveling public that traveling by air is, in reality, safe to resume. That may seem far away, but it is also a fact that the last thing trade, travel, and tourism would want to deal with is new ways, criteria, and measures,” Solomon Wong, President and CEO of Intervistas Consulting Inc., said during a virtual conference hosted by the Wilson Centre’s Canada Institute.
Melissa Haussman, a political science professor at Carleton University, said at the same conference that before the Canada-US land border reopens, both countries must have reached a vaccine level where they are pleased with each other’s efforts. Discussions about reopening the border could begin at this stage.
When will Canada’s travel restrictions be eased or lifted?
Until May 21, 2021, Canada has imposed travel restrictions on all countries, including the United States. However, it is assumed that these limits will be extended after that date. For visitors to Canada further steps, such as COVID-19 monitoring criteria and a three-day hotel quarantine period as part of the 14-day quarantine requirement also applies.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) claims that sanctions will be eased in due course. In an email to CIC News, GAC said, “The Government of Canada continues to take an evidence-based, cautious, and incremental approach to relax travel restrictions for foreign nationals and travel advisories for Canadians.” “At this time, no concrete plans to change Canada’s travel recommendations and advisories exist, and we will continue to update our advice as the situation develops.”