Canada continues to strictly enforce entry requirements, hitting travellers who do not comply with severe fines at the border.
Eligible fully vaccinated travellers entering Canada may feel confident that they meet the requirements for a quarantine exemption as the restrictions begin to loosen. However, it is important for travellers to have all required documents prepared before travelling to avoid any complications with their travels.
Legal obligation to comply
Canada has clearly stated that travellers are under a legal obligation to meet all testing and entry requirements. “Failure to comply with any requirements or providing false information may result in fines, penalties or imprisonment” (Government of Canada).
Requirements upon entry to Canada
Currently, fully vaccinated travellers that are eligible to enter Canada must prepare the following entry requirements:
- Pre-entry tests
- Quarantine plan in case you do not meet the exemption requirements or are symptomatic
- Arrival test
- Requirements checklist
Under Canada’s Quarantine Act, an offence could result in a fine of $5,000 CAD per each day of non-compliance. More serious breaches of the Quarantine Act could result in fines up to $750,000 CAD, and/or 6 months in prison.
Fined for technical issue
Relatives of two brothers killed in a recent deadly crane collapse in Kelowna, B.C. were among those who have been recently fined. Immediately upon hearing of the death of his nephews, Nobert Stemmer and his mother rushed to Canada from Germany. Despite being fully vaccinated and exempt from travel restrictions for compassionate reasons, the two received a combined fine of over $11,000 CAD and were forced into mandatory quarantine. The fine was due to a technical issue with the QR code on their PCR tests. They could not open the QCR code to demonstrate their pre-arrival testing. The Canadian Border Security Agency therefore determined the two to be in non-compliance with the Quarantine Act as they were unable to demonstrate that they met the pre-entry test requirement.
Severity of providing false documents
A more severe breach of the Quarantine Act occurred last month when two American travellers provided false information relating to their proof of vaccination and pre-departure tests. The travellers arriving in Toronto received a total fine of $19,720 CAD each for non-compliance. The fines were also related to non-compliance with the requirement to stay at a government authorized accommodation. The requirement for non-vaccinated travellers to stay at a “quarantine hotel” remains in place for those arriving by air until August 9th, 2021.
Fully vaccinated Americans are permitted to enter Canada for non-discretionary travel as early as August 9th, 2021. All other fully vaccinated travellers will be eligible to travel to Canada as of September 7th, 2021. Until then, travellers must meet current exemptions to come to Canada. Despite the easing of travel restrictions, Canada urges all travellers to plan in advance and ensure they are eligible to enter the country and meet all of the mandatory requirements. The onus to demonstrate eligibility is on the traveller and failure to do so can result in serious consequences.