Public Health Agency of Canada announced on June 21 that – because of vaccine roll out successes and residents following public health measures – it will introduce “cautious adjustments”.
From July 5, asymptomatic travellers fully inoculated with recognised vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) – will not be required to quarantine or take a Covid-19 test on day-8, and those arriving by air will not have to stay at a government-authorised hotel.
Languages Canada has said its members have already seen more interest from students since the announcement was made.
Travellers will still have to meet mandatory testing requirements, and must still present a suitable quarantine plan at the border, in case authorities determine that they do not meet all quarantine exemption conditions.
“The announcement regarding Canada’s easement of travel restrictions is a strong positive for our members”
There are no changes to the country’s current border measures for travellers not fully vaccinated – students can still arrive without being vaccinated.
“The announcement regarding Canada’s easement of travel restrictions is a strong positive for our members and its institutions,” Universities Canada said in a statement to The PIE.
“We continue to work closely with local health agencies to ensure the safe return for our international students on our campuses.
“Throughout the pandemic Canada has ensured international students continued to have access to a high-quality university education. The safety and wellbeing of students are our universities’ top priorities, and our efforts to support international students are ongoing.”
“The news from the government of Canada is a very welcome step towards opening the borders as Canada recovers from the pandemic,” Languages Canada executive director Gonzalo Peralta told The PIE.
“We are already seeing more interest from students, even in a few short days. However, this is only one small step.”
Students not yet vaccinated can still arrive in the country and receive vaccines in the country, he highlighted.
Students with a valid study permit or a letter of introduction proving study permit approval from a designated learning institution with a Covid-19 readiness plan have been permitted to enter during the pandemic.
“Also, IRCC is stepping up its visa approval process to make waiting times shorter and shorter,” Peralta continued.
The organisation for the country’s language sector is “working with authorities to recommend best practices, and at this point we continue to push hard for the end of the three-day quarantine at hotels”, he added.
“We are welcoming students from all over the world and making sure students and Canadians are safe”
“We expect news on this policy change very soon. Bottom line is that although it’s not as easy as in 2019 yet, we are welcoming students from all over the world and making sure students and Canadians are safe.”
Authorities in the country have however extended its flight restrictions from India where “the number of Covid-19 cases continue to be very high”, Omar Alghabra, the Canadian minister of transport said.
“Our government continues to closely monitor traveller positivity rates upon entry to Canada, to help protect Canadians. We will continue to assess the evolving situation and determine appropriate action going forward,” he said.
Restrictions on all direct passenger flights to Canada from India will be extended until July 21 as will requirements for air passengers coming from India via an indirect route to obtain a Covid-19 pre-departure test from a third country before continuing their journey to Canada.
The government said the restrictions will not be extended for Pakistan “at this time”.
“The safety and security of Canadians remains our top priority as we look to support the careful and safe arrival of new permanent residents to Canada over the next year,” minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Marco Mendicino, added.